Finding Stories & Angles Lizabeth A. Walsh, MJE
Stories are everywhereBe interested to create an interesting story. If you act like you care about people, you will have opportunities to care about them. If you care about them, you will want to tell their stories. Whole school surveys Assigned beats Focus groups Randomly selected students Specifically selected students Teacher recommendations Open your eyes and ears Ask people about themselves
Whole school surveys Obtain administrative approval Get teacher buy-in (bribes can work) Have teachers support your goal Do it on one day, collect it that day Sort& read all the surveys as a sponge activity or “bonus time” activity (this can be extra credit, an assigned grade, or a “work night” activity)
Assigned beats Journalistic approach to coverage Setup a system for getting and reporting information Have share time so staffers are made aware of interesting events (overlap coverage)A regular beat report IS a grade and has academic merit
Video 2 http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/? id=618642n
Focus Groups Invitations- specific vs. general topics Scheduled events- organized & prepared On-the-spot- stop in to a meeting Surveys- tailor questions to each group Infiltrate the group- have staffers join
Randomly selected students Throw a dart Every Nth person Color of the day Musical pointing
Video 3 http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/? id=618642n
Specifically selected students Everyone who had only 1 entry last year Students who are in a given group or demographic designation Students our staffers know (1 degree) Students staffers’ friends know (2 degrees) Students the friends know (3 degrees)
Teacher recommendations Emails to teachers Don’t just ask for “kids who are different” Counselors also have access to students Can be standouts or just interesting
Video 4 http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/? id=618642n
Open your eyes & ears Hallway observations are valuable Stay IN at lunch Go OUT at lunch Come to school extra early Stay extra late Make it a contest to find the best story
Ask people about themselves Insteadof staying in your comfort zone, begin conversations with others Comment on a piece of clothing, an accessory, a homework assignment, a situation, the weather- whatever Learn to ask questions and listen more than you talk- the one who leaves with the most information wins, and you want to win.
Proximity How close is the event to your school? Isthe event in your town or surrounding area? (city, county, region, state, country, etc.) How much is it reported in local news? Ifit’s not close, it doesn’t have proximity, but that doesn’t remove it from the list, it just doesn’t get full points for MOST IMPORTANT
Currency / Timeliness Since the book comes out in May (or August), it needs to be a story that still matters. Historical content matters. Evergreen material matters.
Impact How many people were affected? In what way were they affected? How significant were the effects? How many people could relate to this?
Prominence Important people matter to others. Famous people anchor the year in their timeliness or popularity Student Body Officers, Elected Queens & Kings, Teachers & Administrators, etc. Politicians, School Board members, Superintendent, etc.
Conflict If it bleeds, it leads (gross!) Teenagers can relate to drama We like to hear about a problem- we get emotionally involved People who overcome tragedy are inspiring
Entertainment Funny isn’t universal, but it’s close Bizarre traits or events catch our attention Thisis pretty much the excuse for telling a story when it doesn’t have any other news value at all
All materials presented… Remain the property and copyright of the various owners of the original works. These yearbook samples were presented at BALFOUR workshops for the benefit of their clients and customers. Please do not alter these presentations. Use of these shows is intended only for individual adviser-to-staff classroom teaching, not for publication or reproduction in any form for any type of presentation at a conference, camp, convention, or gathering of multiple schools’ staffs.