Key questions student journalists address in determining coverage

When students determine content, they evaluate how the issue or coverage affects those in their communities. Journalists ask themselves what readers need to know and how best to tell the story. Student editors examine the issue collaboratively, considering angles for coverage while also thinking about what readers already know.

The extensive discussion inside a student newsroom isn’t always apparent to outsiders. Good scholastic media programs empower students to make content decisions beginning at the news-gathering phase. Student media are not designed to be public relations tools for the district.

When students look for stories, they:
• Observe their fellow students, their school and their community;
• Localize current issues/events;
• Talk to a wide variety of students, teachers, support staff, parents, coaches and administrators;
• Listen to announcements;
• Study other media;
• Research possible topics;
• Brainstorm ideas;
• Use focus groups and other methods to determine reader wants/needs;
• Consider connections across subject areas.

How a story gets published

Completed stories require extensive work. Because of the timeliness of news, students need access to equipment and support for quick coverage. This timeline is an example of what student journalists experience, although breaking news and deadlines influence the process.

During the production cycle, students work on telling the story verbally as well as visually. Staff members work in teams during the “maestro” process and when they coach writers. Both practices demonstrate 21st-century skills of collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity.

It’s important to realize students may make errors during the learning process. If this occurs, students must address errors promptly and publish corrections. Students learn by doing the work.

See also:
Supporting student media with technology and finances
The value of using social media in journalism
Internet access and safety