Midterm update

A reporter captures the source's comments.

A reporter captures the source’s comments.

Congrats on your first six weeks of learning to think and write like a journalist. You have several writing pieces and midterm test scores that show you’re making progress. So far, this class has focused on learning:

    • to become aware of current events in school, local, national, & global scene
    • purposes that editors select news for coverage
    • different ‘types’ of storytelling — soft news and hard news
    • interviewing techniques and behaviors
    • Source types to find and use — primary, secondary, experts
    • to plan out your ideas and consider different angles
    • how to capture and gather accurate and balanced information
    • how to organize with leads, facts, and quotations
    • processes of writing, revising, and publishing

Your first set of “official” news stories will be submitted to the student editors/web team for KennedyTorch.Org. Already, your classmate Rowan Bergan had her story picked up and published by Torch  — it was the Duck, Duck, Goose fundraising event. Congrats!


9-30-14 Your news story gets underway

Reporters, you gathered facts and viewpoints from your sources. You read about the different lead types, and you have a beginning understanding of how to weave all the information together.

1. Write 3 different leads for your story. Post 3 leads on your blog. Title this entry “Lead Starters.” Then ask 2 other persons in class to read your leads and give you feedback. Which do they like the best? Why? Use their feedback to make your lead selection.

2. Dig in with the writing of your story. Use the class handout as a guide to start pulling your story information together.  Use Microsoft word to write the story up/draft it up. When you have your draft ready, add it to your blog. Title it “Story Draft 9-30.” Ask for 2 other persons in class to read your story and give you feedback. What ideas do they have for improving your lead? For improving the organization?

3. Complete your story. Add your finished writing on the blog. Add a headline of 3-4 words. Make sure to proofread the story. Ask 2 other people in class to read it and notice any edits that need to be made. Make corrections. Publish/update.

Next blogging assigment…Sept. 24-26

This information is also available on Canvas/Class calendar.

There are three entries (2 short and 1 longer) for your blog to be completed. We started some of this on paper in class on Thursday, Sept. 25. Today we are working on these blogs in class Friday, Sept. 26. You will finish (as needed) this assignment over the weekend.

1. New Blog Entry 9-24-14 (add date to your blog entry)

Talk to me about how your own story report is going. Ws the topic of your story? What’s the angle? Who have been your best interviews so far? Lastly, what interview(s) do you still need to accomplish? Remember, your “draft” story (meaning the write-up of your own interviews/topic) is due in class on Tuesday.


2. New Blog Entry 9-25-14 (add date to your blog entry)

What did you learn about journalism and/or being a reporter from Mr. Ogden’s visit? Explain.


3. New Blog Entry 9-26-14 (add date to your blog on the site)

Okay! Now here is Mr. Ogden’s visit story! Yesterday in class we worked with leads – ways to hook our readers, to start the story. Write a news brief about his visit. Choose a lead style and dig in. Try to follow the format we’ve talked about: lead, Ws, quotations, summary information quotations, summary information, etc. You can do this! 🙂


Constitution Day, Sept. 17

Reporters cover a rally where people are speaking about their views.

Reporters often will cover meetings or rallies where groups share and speak their views. Source: Creative Commons/English Pen

Wednesday, Sept. 17.

It’s “America Day” at Kennedy for Homecoming Week and it’s the official Constitution Day for the United States. So, as one particular musician suggests with his famous lyrics, “Get up – stand up – stand up for your rights!”

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.



Why is THAT news?

Reporters must make decisions about the importance of the news story and what to cover.

Reporters must make decisions about the importance of the news story and what to cover.

Monday, Sept. 15

We are talking “news elements.” What are the reasons that reporters chase a story, put it on the top of the web site, announce it on the TV broadcast, or place it a front page? It’s important for journalists to understand the News Elements and why a story may be selected for news.

Last week, you began this assignment:

Find one story for each News Element (you will have 8 total). For each story answer 1) Where did you locate/find the story, 2) what’s the story about (the Ws), 3) what’s the element/why is it in the news?

The News Elements:

1  Timely

2  Impact

3  Conflict

4  Proximity

5  Prominence

6  Oddity

7  Drama

8  Space & Time

Former JFK grad: An interview with Sal Guinta

For: Tuesday, Sept. 9

US Army photofile: Medal of Honor Winner Sal Guinta

US Army photofile: Medal of Honor Winner Sal Guinta

Blog Assignment 3: 

Last week you heard/saw reporter Katie Couric’s interviewing suggestions and techniques. Here is a new link, one to a 60 Minutes story, in which the reporter conducts an interview with former Kennedy student Sal Guinta. Click here for the interview.

As we discussed in class, interviewing can certainly be done quickly and on-the-fly, but interviews often take careful thinking and deliberate planning.

Watch this interview and assess the reporter’s questioning….how does it feel like a conversation? In a new blog post on your own site, please address the following:

  • What interviewing techniques / approaches do you see/hear in action?
  • What are some of the reporter’s best questions? Why?
  • What surprised you about how the reporter handled the source? And/or, what surprised you about how the source handled the questions or interviewer?
  • Please add 1-2 more ideas about this interview — your thoughts, reactions, comments, or questions?

Profile & Torch

For: Monday, Sept. 8
Blog 2: Post your Question and Answer story

Our journalism program is interesting, fun, busy, and award-winning. And, we are always looking for new people to join. We have jobs for you in photography, writing, web, design, business/ads sales, promotions, podcasting, and lots or opportunity for leadership roles.

This could be you.

This term, after you complete Intro to Journalism/Media, you may advance to Profile or Torch. You can take these electives as soon as next term. Many of our staff take this media elective every term, every year… until they graduate! Journalism counts toward the 5-year award in Language Arts and journalism is valuable for your RAI score when applying to colleges/universities. (Click here for Why Journalism Students Get Better Grades).

Yearbook staffers show off Profile at the JFK Activity Fair.

Yearbook staffers show off Profile at the JFK Activity Fair.

Profile is our school’s yearbook, a beloved tradition, and its staff members work hard to create a memory trail of Kennedy news and events. Profile staff members are on the go all year long. They’re taking pictures, writing club/activity stories, and gathering up the fun and interesting details of school events throughout the year. The yearbook is published and delivered each fall. It’s a student-led publication advised by faculty member Kara Asmussen.

Torch staffers get ready for the 3rd hour paper delivery.

Torch staffers get ready for the 3rd hour paper delivery.

Torch is our school news media that serves as a public forum for students to report and discuss issues of importance, relevance, and interest. Torch is also a tradition. The publication has long been a source of student-produced news and entertainment. For many years, the Torch was a traditional newspaper format and distributed nine times a year. You can see issues here (www.issuu.com/kennedytorch). Today, our students publish a newsmagazine six times a year, report via the Torch web site (KennedyTorch.org) and keep school audiences up-to-date with Torch social media (twitter.com/kennedytorch). It’s a student-led media advised by faculty member Stacy Haynes-Moore.