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25 Ways to Build an Award-Winning High School Newspaper

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Presentation to the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco
April 27, 2013

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25 Ways to Build an Award-Winning High School Newspaper

  1. 1. 25 Ways to Build an Award-Winning NewspaperRachele KanigelSan Francisco State Universitykanigel@sfsu.edu
  2. 2. Why should you care aboutawards?They•Boost staff morale•Help you get into college•Attract staffers to your newspaper•Help establish your newspaper’s credibility•May keep critical administrators at bay
  3. 3. To win awards you must:•Put out a great publication•Innovate•Be a leader•Be bold and creativeand …..
  4. 4. ENTER CONTESTS!
  5. 5. 1. Train yourstaff•Train staffers in all aspects of puttingout the newspaper -- design,photography, online, writing, reporting,editing.•Incorporate team-building andleadership-development exercises.
  6. 6. 2. Network with the pros• Join professional organizations like SPJ, ACES,NAHJ, NABJ, IRE, NPPA, local press clubs andother organizations (many offer membershipdiscounts and scholarships to students)• Attend conventions and conferences -- likethis one!• Invite media professionals to speak to yourclass
  7. 7. 3. When news breaksreport it• If you’ve got a website, use it to breaknews
  8. 8. Knight Errant, Benilde-St. Margaret’s School, St. Louis Park, Minn.
  9. 9. 4. Have a conversationwith your readersUse your website to•Solicit story ideas•Poll readers•Get email addresses•Find out what’s happening on campus
  10. 10. The Kirkwood Call, Kirkwood HS, Kirkwood, Mo.
  11. 11. 5. Get social• Use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest andTumblr to connect with readers, askquestions and report news
  12. 12. FHNtoday.com, Francis Howell North HS, St. Charles, Mo.
  13. 13. Harbinger Online, Shawnee Mission East HS, Prairie Village, Kan.
  14. 14. 6. Beef up your onlineedition• Post Web-exclusive content• Break news online• Create photo galleries
  15. 15. 7. Make use of newtechnology• Social media• Live blogging• Multimedia slide shows• Video• Interactive graphics
  16. 16. 8. Think about aredesignIf your paper is looking tired, consider anew look.Look at design books, magazines, othernewspapers for inspiration.
  17. 17. 9. Take a stand• Fight -- and write -- for what youbelieve in• Back up a strongly worded opinionpiece with facts• Make a compelling argument
  18. 18. 10. Look for the unusualWriters, photographers and multimediaproducers should always be on the lookout forthe fresh angle, the unusual story
  19. 19. Nathan Lau of SanFrancisco StateUniversity won aCollegePhotographer ofthe Year award forthis unusualsports action shot
  20. 20. 11. Push projectsGo beyond day-to-day coverage with:• Special projects• Series• Special sections• Enterprise stories
  21. 21. 12. Package storieswellUse:• Display type• Graphics• Sidebars• A logo• Info boxes
  22. 22. Striking,innovativedesign helpedThe Broadview atSacred HeartH.S. in SanFrancisco win aPacemakeraward in 2012.
  23. 23. 13. Explore deeperissues
  24. 24. 14. Photographers: Look forthe moment• Shoot lots of images• Look for emotion• Capture special moments
  25. 25. 2012 NSPA Picture of the YearWinnersFirst Place:LaurenAndersonImprints, MesaMS, CastleRock, Colo.
  26. 26. 2012 NSPA Picture of the YearWinnersFirst Place,NewsGrace FinleyHornet,Bryant HS,Bryant, Ark.
  27. 27. 2012 NSPA Picture of the YearWinners First Place,Sports ReactionKate JacobsenThe NorthwestPassage,ShawneeMissionNorthwest HS,Shawnee, Kan.
  28. 28. 15. Develop yourtalentDon’t let your bestreporters,photographers, designers,editorial cartoonists and columnistssettle for being just the best on yourstaff.Urge them to go the extra mile tobecome the best in the state -- or thenation.
  29. 29. 16. Dare to bedifferentThe professional press may not be ableto afford to go out on a limb. You can.
  30. 30. Kylie Vandeven ofThe View, Park HillSouth HS, Riverside,Mo., won first placefor Page 1 Designfrom NSPA for thisillustrated front pagein 2012.
  31. 31. Kelsey Bell ofNorth Star, FrancisHowell North HS, St.Charles, Mo., won firstplace for news magazinecover for this page in2012
  32. 32. 17. Pay attention toledesBusy judges often make snap decisionsin the first paragraph of a story.If your lede doesn’t grab them, theymay not read any further.
  33. 33. 18. Sweat the smallstuffPay attention to details large and small.Misspelled words, headlines that don’tmake sense and punctuation errorscan put you in the reject pile beforeyou can say “Oops!”
  34. 34. 19. Review thecompetitionLook at previous winners from thecompetitions you enter. Read judges’notes. Analyze what made the winningpieces succeed.
  35. 35. 20. If you’ve got a goodstory, tell itUse personal experiences to craftcompelling narratives.
  36. 36. Caitlin Johnsonof IndianaUniversity wona Hearst awardfor an opinionpiece on herbrother’sservice in Iraqand Afghanistan
  37. 37. 21. Speak to youraudience• Write about the issues students really careabout.• Cover your school like a blanket.
  38. 38. 22. Plan tocompeteAt the beginning of each term obtain orcreate a list of the major state andnational competitions and theirdeadlines. Write the deadlines on yourcalendar.
  39. 39. 23. Put someone in chargeof contestsMake sure that a person or committeeannounces competitions at least a monthbefore the deadline. Dont leave this tothe last minute -- postmark deadlines areusually strict!
  40. 40. 24. Hand out your ownawardsDont wait for the outside world togive your staff recognition. Honor yourown staff.And don’t wait for the end of theterm; do it weekly.
  41. 41. 25. Enter contestsRemember, if you don’t enter you can’twin.
  42. 42. ContactRachele KanigelSan Francisco State Universitykanigel@sfsu.edu

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