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Completing the project

By Staff | Oct 11, 2013

As of publishing this week’s paper, the journalism project I did with Mrs. Julie Mosher’s 6th-grade class is completed.

I’m pretty excited about how the project went and I hope the kids learned at least a little bit. I think they did.

When I talked to the class initially, we really just went over newsworthiness: What do you want to write and why is it important to people.

When I met with the class again early this week, they had completed most of their submissions and we went over them.

For the most part, the students did a really good job and provided good information. The one tip I gave a few of the students is to personalize their pieces a little bit. Generally if you do a news story, you’ll not want to editorialize and give your opinion on the topic.

But for kids at that age, I think it’s important to tie your interest into what you’re writing. The opener of hunting season or a local football team is definitely news items people would like to read about.

But why did the students pick those topics?

Most likely because they’re involved in those activities.

And the students provided a wide variety of submissions.

One student wrote a Halloween poem and we used a graphic in the paper to make it stand out.

A couple of the students even did a question of the week, which is a highly popular segment in the Tribune after it was revived by Chuck Repnow.

One student took some photos and even did a cartoon, which I thought was just great.

But we ended up using one submission from each student, so like we often have to in the paper, we had to edit out some items.

Last week I wrote about my invitation go to the University of North Dakota and speak to a community journalism class.

I think for the most part, the presentation went pretty well. I had some prepared talking points, but ended up going off those points a lot and spoke for nearly 45 minutes.

I gave some examples of how newsworthiness differs from market to market. There are plenty of items that we have in the Tribune that wouldn’t be considered newsworthy in Grand Forks, just as the Grand Forks Herald has stories in its paper that wouldn’t be considered newsworthy at the New York Times.

I also talked about a staple in weekly newspapers: what I call coffee news.

We presently have Wolford News and sometimes get some submissions for similar Rugby News.

For the most part, the news items include visitors, guests and dinners enjoyed with friends and families.

I said that the news items are similar to what famous Grand Forks Herald columnist Marilyn Hagerty writes about.

She’s well known for her restaurant reviews where she visits everywhere from Taco Bell to 5-star restaurants.

She gives readers just the basics: what an items costs, what the service was like and how the food tasted.

And she always has a friend who accompanies her to the restaurants.

It might not be exactly like Wolford News, but there are certainly some parallels.

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