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1 Coverage: How to Get People to Read Your Newspaper Linda Barrington September 2010 Alabama Scholastic Press Association.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Coverage: How to Get People to Read Your Newspaper Linda Barrington September 2010 Alabama Scholastic Press Association."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Coverage: How to Get People to Read Your Newspaper Linda Barrington September 2010 Alabama Scholastic Press Association

2 2 Tell readers what they don't already know or cannot find out for themselves  What are students, teachers, parents talking about that is going on in school?  Do students and teachers know the truth behind rumors?  Do people know why so many students aren’t graduating?  Is it cheaper to go to school in another country?

3 3 Tell readers more about the things they know something about already.  College admissions/scholarships  Changes in school rules  The environment  The justice system  Minority issues  The arts/reviews  How to balance savings and spending

4 4 Tell about the complaints, anxieties and worries of readers  Transition to high school  Trying out for a team, a sport  Protecting yourself from identity theft  Unfair computer lab policy  Finding a decent part-time job  Where is all your money going?  Turning 18: are you really an adult?

5 5 Tell how to make school a better place to learn and work in.  If this were your school, what would you change?  Are these problems in your school: – Bullying – Cafeteria cleanliness – Cleanliness in rest rooms

6 6 Tell how to make more informed choices at school and in personal life.  Choice of college  Nutrition, vegetarians, cafeteria menus  Pop machines, effect of pop on teens  Sexting  Caffeine’s effects on those with ADD or ADHD  Drugs, alcohol, cigarette use  Opening credit card accounts

7 7 Make the paper an outlet for readers’ opinions, feelings, or thoughts  Encourage letters to the editor  Solicit opinion articles  Provide PRO/CON forums for topics of interest  Include photo opinion polls

8 8 Speak for students in ways they can’t speak for themselves  Editorial statements Society pushes teens to go with the crowd Americans need better manners Concerts should not have age limits Supporting a cause is just another trendy thing: help something you believe in Homeless youth overlooked by city? Teens should increase Facebook privacy Relationships need personal contact, not just the internet Art educates, enlightens viewers  Providing analysis of problems at school  Editorial cartoons

9 9 Help students and teachers cope better with their problems  Where to go for help  Resources in school and community  Research and analyze problems: – Bad habits = bad for your health – Do’s and don’ts for the interview – Shopping: getting more for your dollar – What is our school crisis plan?

10 10 Get AHEAD of the news and preview, preview, preview  We’re not just talking sports here… – Plays – All-school guest speakers – Vacation plans – Proposed School Board policies  How do you find out what’s going on? – Beats, school calendar, department chairs, visit with principal, School Board meetings

11 11 Get fresh follow-ups to what has already happened*  The consequences  The implications for the future  Reactions  The inside story  Never merely report this or that happened *Your web page is a good place to post follow-ups.

12 12 Use photos and captions as much as possible to report past news.  Photos, photos, photos, large, large, large, many, many, many.  Provide great lively, flavorful captions which go beyond describing what's in the photos to tell the story BEHIND what's in them.

13 13 Example: Teachers Michael Steinbrecher and Michael Stafford grill hot dogs in the courtyard of Stuart Hall High School during a community barbecue last Friday. Following the annual four-school blessing in the morning, students participated in activities focused on prayer and art, culminating in the release of ladybugs and worms in Lafayette Park. The day ended with Mass of the Holy Spirit and a barbecue.

14 14 Focus on people rather than things.  It’s never about policies, decisions, rulings, events, plays, field trips, classes, funding shortages…whatever  It’s always about how people are being affected by these things.

15 15 Capture school life, school personalities, the community in print.  This probably is the greatest secret of the greatest high school papers.  Each issue is a snow globe of the world of the school at that moment.  Who/what can you write about? – The crossing guard – Senior Tea – Churros on All Saints/All Souls Day – Before school pancake breakfasts – Flower crowns at Awards Ceremony

16 16 Get to the HEART of school life, the HEART of people in the school.  The paper should BE adolescent.  The stories should pulse with life and feeling.  Be irreverent and funny and a little naughty at times; the paper shouldn't read like a sociology project.  Don't publish miniature research papers for stories.

17 17 News, News-Features ideas  Academic: curriculum, teaching, policies, requirements, testing, evaluations, budgets, organizations/unions, state/federal laws – Are test scores getting better? – Foreign exchange programs – What’s happening at the Board of Education meetings lately?

18 18 News, News-Features ideas  On-campus: co-curricular, extracurricular activities – Is it important to attend your Homecoming game? – Clubs: background, what happens in this club – Field trip policies – Budget cuts: how do they affect you? – Senior advice on how to survive your first six weeks in high school – How to fight senioritis

19 19 News, News-Features ideas  Off-campus: local to international – Interview director of the school play – Article on history of education* – People who text and drive – Teen violence and Halloween – Keeping up-to-date on what is going on in the government * How to Annoy Your Teacher

20 20 Sports story ideas  School-sponsored, competitive team sports, intramural, club sports and recreation  Non-school sports, recreation – Benefits of organized/unorganized sports  Features, columns, briefs – Sex roles in sports – Keeping steroids out of high school athletics  Homecoming: history of the teams that will be playing—past matchups, stats, etc.

21 21 Be clearly in love with the school and community.  Too many school papers stand outside the school, pointing fingers and lecturing.  The papers which do the bravest investigative work also seem to be the papers which capture pride in their schools the most effectively. It's a balancing act that does wonders.

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