11/17/20 Thoughts for the Week

Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS)
Student Journalism Program Participants

FROM: Roger Utnehmer, Director
WIPPS Student Journalism Program

RE: Thoughts for the Week

We’re pleased to welcome several new high school students to the WIPPS STUDENT JOURNALISM Program. Please remember to consult with your media partner and approve story topics in advance. You can always send them to me for review before you submit them for publication or broadcast. I’m happy to visit with you about story ideas and will provide “second eyes” before you send your story to your media partner.

I’d like to share with you advice I found reading an outstanding book, What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School, by Harvey MacKay. He wrote that there are three important qualities to be used evaluating employees. I’d like to suggest they apply to the student journalism program as well.

  1. Immediate follow-up.
  2. Concern for small details.
  3. Exceeding minimum standards.

News reporting is deadline intensive. Most stories have a short shelf life and need to be completed in a short time period. It is very important to take initiative and follow up immediately with your media partner. This process starts with students taking initiative and getting story topics approved before writing them.

I can help with the small details by providing another set of eyes to edit and review before you file a story with your media partner. This, hopefully, will make it easier for our participating news outlets by saving some of their time doing the initial editing I can assist you doing.

The standards about how many stories you care to write are totally up to you.

I’ve reviewed old files from our experience at DoorCountyDailyNews.com and found some students did three or four stories a week, some just one. I suggest you set a goal, make it YOUR standard and measure your performance.

Some possible story topics you may consider include;

New York Times article on the ethics of online cheating.

During one two-week period several years ago student journalists wrote about FFA Week, the high school forensics program, chess club, solo and ensemble, speaking contests, math club, class trip to Washington DC, National Honor Society, personal profiles of class officers, student plans for spring break, the quality of cafeteria food and a few sports stories about basketball, volleyball and wrestling competition.