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The process of deciding staff editorials QT41

Posted by on Jan 7, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Teaching | 0 comments

Keys to effective editorials include focused positions, credible sources and meaningful topics. If the topic is focused on issues and problems, strong editorials include a call to action or possible solutions.

Ideas for topics should be discussed throughout the deadline cycle. The editorial board will select the topic, and a member of the editorial board will write it as an unsigned editorial.

In general, student reporters should consider reinforcing the importance of key stories with local impact and importance by preparing staff editorials that take a definitive stance.

Editorials are least effective and meaningful when they approach topics other than the  mundane.

Key points/action

Staff editorials, the position of the student media on topics of importance and interest, require thorough planning and credible sources and arguments for support.

Student media show leadership in many ways, and one of the most traditional is through concise, focused and authoritative statements of well argued and supported opinion that represents the institutional voice of the student media.

Stance

In general, student reporters should consider reinforcing the importance of key stories with local impact and importance by preparing staff editorials that take a definitive stance. Editorials are least effective and meaningful when they approach topics other than the mundane.

Such leadership pieces should not be exclusively negative or positive. They can offer solutions, alternatives, commendation and/or points for compromise. They should make statements and not ask questions.

Reasoning/suggestions:

Keys to effective editorials include focused positions, credible sources and meaningful topics. If the topic is focused on issues and problems, strong editorials include a call to action.

Ideas for topics should be discussed throughout the deadline cycle. The editorial board will select the topic, and a member of the editorial board will write it as an unsigned editorial.

Staffs may set their own policies, but the staff editorial need not reflect the views of all editorial board members.

Editorials can still play an important role in today’s media.

Related: These points and other decisions about mission statement, forum status and editorial policy should be part of a Foundations Package  that protects journalistically responsible student expression.

Resources:

Quick Hit: Picking a topic for staff editorials, JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Quick Hit: Importance of staff editorials, JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Mirror, mirror on the wall,” JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Where have the leaders gone?” JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Editorials under attack, Student Press Law Center

They need the freedom to make mistakes, too,” Lindsay Coppens, JEA Press Rights Committee

Explained: why newspapers endorse presidential candidates, Dylan Baddour, Houston Chronicle

Reading newspapers: Editorial and opinion pieces, Learn NC

Video: How to write an editorial, New York Times

Writing an Editorial, Alan Weintraut

 

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The importance of staff edits:
critical thinking, leadership QT 38

Posted by on Dec 14, 2017 in Blog, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Student editors are busy. In addition to leading their staffs, making publication decisions and helping reporters, they are likely also still reporting and creating their own news content — not to mention carrying a full academic high school load.

Given all of these responsibilities, it’s easy to see why writing an unsigned staff editorial might seem a lower priority than getting the next edition to print or finishing that great feature on the new student body president.

But these editorials represent a unique and powerful opportunity for the board to be leaders in their school communities, and editors tempted to skip writing them should reconsider their priorities.

As overseers of all publication content, school news editors know more about what’s going on in their communities than just about anyone else in the school. As they read each article and listen with a journalist’s ear to what’s happening around them day-to-day, they can see patterns and problems most people cannot, adults included.

Coming together as a group, they can choose meaningful topics to address and think critically about what they want to say about those topics as a board. Once they reach a majority opinion on the topic, they can write collaboratively on a Google doc or take turns writing the first draft and then edit that draft into a clear, concise final piece.

Because staff editorials are unsigned, they carry more weight than a single writer’s opinion and may have greater impact. Well researched, authoritative editorials are powerful tools for change in a school community, and editorial boards should make them a priority.

Guideline:

Student journalists should act as candles lighting issues within their communities as well as mirrors reflecting current events. One way to enact this leadership is for the student editorial board to write regular unsigned editorials to advocate, solve a problem or commend. Editorial opinions should be clearly labeled and separate from the news section and should not affect objective news coverage.

Social Media Post

Does your student editorial board write regular unsigned editorials? If not, they are missing an opportunity to lead.

Reasoning/suggestions: Student media show leadership in many ways, and one of the most traditional is through concise, focused and authoritative statements of well-argued and supported opinion which represent the institutional voice of the student media. These editorials are a unique opportunity for student leaders to give voice to student perspectives on important topics. Editorial board members who take this process seriously and write consistently can advocate for change, serve as calls to action or commend positive conditions. Because staff editorials are unsigned, they carry more weight than a single writer’s opinion and may have greater impact.

Resources:

Quick Hit: Picking a topic for staff editorials, JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Quick Hit: Staff editorial process, JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Mirror, mirror on the wall,” JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Where have the leaders gone?” JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Editorials under attack, Student Press Law Center

Explained: why newspapers endorse presidential candidates, Dylan Baddour, Houston Chronicle

They need the freedom to make mistakes, too,” Lindsay Coppens, JEA Press Rights Committee

Reading newspapers: Editorial and opinion pieces, Learn NC

Video: How to write an editorial, New York Times

Writing an Editorial, Alan Weintraut

 

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Choosing topics for editorials QT37

Posted by on Dec 12, 2017 in Blog, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The best and most effective staff editorials are those that tackle an important topic and then give audiences a reason and a way to address it.

Staff editorials should concern local or localized issues for the student body and/or school community. They may advocate, solve a problem or commend.

Guidelines

Staff editorials should concern local or localized issues for the student body and/or school community. They may advocate, solve a problem or commend.

Question: What are best practices in choosing staff editorial materials?

Key points/action: The best and most effective staff editorials are those that tackle an important topic and then give audiences a reason and a way to address it.

Stance: Develop criteria for choosing editorial topics that can include:

  • A topic that can make a difference
  • A topic for which there can be reliable and credible sources
  • A topic audiences can address and create change
  • A topic that has reported content to provide background
  • A topic for which the reporter(s) can find first-hand information and sources

Reasoning/suggestions:

Remember, editorials are concise, supported and take a stand. Also to note: staff editorials are unsigned because they represent the entire publication or media.


Resources:

Quick Hit: Staff editorial process, JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Quick Hit: Importance of staff editorials, JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Mirror, mirror on the wall,” JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Where have the leaders gone?” JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Editorials under attack, Student Press Law Center

They need the freedom to make mistakes, too,” Lindsay Coppens, JEA Press Rights Committee

Explained: why newspapers endorse presidential candidates, Dylan Baddour, Houston Chronicle

Reading newspapers: Editorial and opinion pieces, Learn NC

Video: How to write an editorial, New York Times

Writing an Editorial, Alan Weintraut

Related: These points and other decisions about mission statement, forum status and editorial policy should be part of a Foundations Package  that protects journalistically responsible student expression.

 

 

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The importance of staff editorials QT16

Posted by on Sep 28, 2017 in Blog, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Student editors are busy. In addition to leading their staffs, making publication decisions and helping reporters, they are likely also still reporting and creating their own news content — not to mention carrying a full academic high school load.

Given all of these responsibilities, it’s easy to see why writing an unsigned staff editorial might seem a lower priority than getting the next edition to print or finishing that great feature on the new student body president.

But these editorials represent a unique and powerful opportunity for the board to be leaders in their school communities, and editors tempted to skip writing them should reconsider their priorities.

As overseers of all publication content, school news editors know more about what’s going on in their communities than just about anyone else in the school. As they read each article and listen with a journalist’s ear to what’s happening around them day-to-day, they can see patterns and problems most people cannot, adults included.

Coming together as a group, they can choose meaningful topics to address and think critically about what they want to say about those topics as a board. Once they reach a majority opinion on the topic, they can write collaboratively on a Google doc or take turns writing the first draft and then edit that draft into a clear, concise final piece.

Because staff editorials are unsigned, they carry more weight than a single writer’s opinion and may have greater impact. Well researched, authoritative editorials are powerful tools for change in a school community, and editorial boards should make them a priority.

 

Guideline:

Student journalists should act as candles lighting issues within their communities as well as mirrors reflecting current events. One way to enact this leadership is for the student editorial board to write regular unsigned editorials to advocate, solve a problem or commend. Editorial opinions should be clearly labeled and separate from the news section and should not affect objective news coverage.

Social Media Post/Topic:

Does your student editorial board write regular unsigned editorials? If not, they are missing an opportunity to lead.

Reasoning/suggestions: Student media show leadership in many ways, and one of the most traditional is through concise, focused and authoritative statements of well argued and supported opinion which represent the institutional voice of the student media.

These editorials are a unique opportunity for student leaders to give voice to student perspectives on important topics. Editorial board members who take this process seriously and write consistently can advocate for change, serve as calls to action or commend positive conditions.

Because staff editorials are unsigned, they carry more weight than a single writer’s opinion and may have greater impact.

Resources:

Quick Hit: Picking a topic for staff editorials, JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Quick Hit: Staff editorial process, JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Mirror, mirror on the wall,” JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Where have the leaders gone?” JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Editorials under attack, Student Press Law Center

Explained: why newspapers endorse presidential candidates, Dylan Baddour, Houston Chronicle

They need the freedom to make mistakes, too,” Lindsay Coppens, JEA Press Rights Committee

Reading newspapers: Editorial and opinion pieces, Learn NC

Video: How to write an editorial, New York Times

Writing an Editorial, Alan Weintraut

 

Read More

Noteworthy information 10: Questions for the new era

Posted by on Aug 21, 2010 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

To help us prepare for scholastic journalism’s new era, let’s look at the 10 roles exercise recently outlined by the Center for Scholastic Journalism. Instead of thinking of the roles in terms of print media, let’s project the roles into the future and discuss them in terms of scholastic media’s use of social media.

And, since no one has definite answers for these uses, let’s look at potential uses in terms of questions  for future discussion.

• Should scholastic media be involved in branding? If we are heavily involved in branding are we, by nature of the media, becoming more interested in advertising and public relations than objective reporting?

• What is the best role in student media for social media: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Google groups  etc)? It is branding? Is it letting our audiences know what we do doing and what to expect? Is it reporting breaking informtion? Is it some combination? What are the plusses and minuses of each in terms of mission, role legal standards and ethics? You might take a look at the issues raised by Mike Wise, sports commentator of radio and The Washington Post when he knowingly posted false information on his Twitter site. Later, he railed at those who did not factcheck. That may be, but what is his responsibility? Today The Post suspended Wise for a month, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported Wise told his morning radio audience. Poynter covered the event, including reference to the Post’s ombudsman’s comments.

• What is your forum role for online media? Should your students moderate comments or allow them at all? Should they be limited to just students?  From the CSJ blog: “Remember, if your existing letters policy says, in the first sentence, you are a forum and encourage letters (comment) but in the next sentence says you will edit for length and clarity, or moderate for this and that, are you really being “open”? Even if you add the phrase “without changing the meaning,” is that possible to do? If I wrote an 800-word letter and you cut it to 400, even if YOU don’t think you changed my meaning, I’ll bet I would think you did. And if the policy says you will edit for “good taste” or even correct mistakes, have you limited my expression?” Or, is there a developing standard that will allow the forum but still enable free expression?

• If we look to use social media for coverage, what kind of story works best? Worst? What kind of story (assuming your students have already outlined their roles using the framework provided by the CSJblog) is most crucial to the role of the medium?

• Can promotion and objective coverage realistically come from the same use of a single social media outlet (Twitter, Facebook)? Should our students mix opinion and objective reporting using the same outlet?

•It has been said that reporting on the web is probably not the place for depth and longform reporting. What evidence supports this? Can we find evidence that depth and longform flourish on the web? An excellent read from Nieman Journalism Lab suggests some dangers of thinking in terms of “quick find” terms on news searches like Google News and others.

• What is optimal length for web stories? Why? Practioners do not all agree that short (someone suggested 250 words) is better? Take a look at respectied news websites.

• In using social media, what are the roles for breaking news, verification and perspective. Are these inherently contradictory? Should we view one as more important than others? How should each come across in our teaching?

We’d love to see a discussion get started here, on JEA’s listserv, on JEA’s Digital Media site or on any other site open to all advisers.

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