Frequently Asked Questions alternative story format popular with reporters, readers
By Andy Bechtel
Readers of student media often have questions about things in the news. College journalists can provide answers using the “frequently asked questions” format.
Korie Dean, a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, specializes in FAQ stories. She’s reported and written them about topics such as COVID restrictions, health insurance and bans on outdoor burning.
“You might find yourself asking questions about a new law that’s gone into effect, a confusing term that’s related to the news of the day, a viral post on social media or just about anything else,” says Dean, a 2021 graduate of the journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill. “Those topics make for fantastic FAQs, because they’re things people undoubtedly have questions about and will be searching (literally searching on Google — SEO is key!) for answers on.”
So when should you try a FAQ, and how do you put one together? Here’s what you need to know.
By Christine Bartruff University of South Carolina Honors College
A chemical smell. A haze in the air. Broken windows. Abandoned jugs of milk. Through the eyes of a reporter, this was the scene in Minneapolis following protests against police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd.
Erin Ailworth, Midwest correspondent for TheWall Street Journal, spoke to students via Google Hangouts while she was on the ground in Minneapolis. Ailworth is well-versed in covering heavy subject matter. She’s been The Wall Street Journal’s go-to disaster reporter since 2017, reporting on hurricanes, wildfires and, most recently, protests.
READ AILWORTH’S STORIES
IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
When interviewing people, especially those who are traumatized by the events she’s covering, Ailworth exercises empathy. Approach people gently, she said, without shoving a camera or notebook or recording device in their face. Start with introducing yourself, and then ask if they would be willing to talk with you.Continue reading “Navigating disasters and tragedy as a journalist “
Community journalism ‘never more important’ than now
By Megan Wehring Texas State University
The Pew Research Center continues to report on declining newspaper circulation (“its lowest level since 1940”), revenue (“declined dramatically between 2008 and 2018”) and employment (“dropped by nearly half between 2008 and 2018”).
But Frank Blethen, in a Washington Post column, says, “Local journalism has never been more important or sought after.”
And longtime journalist Joyce Dehli calls local journalism “an essential force in our democracy.”
Using a health equity lens to cover COVID-19 in minority communities
By Lyndsey Brennan Kent State University
For the media to cover the effect of the coronavirus on minority communities in a way that is just, journalists must frame stories using a health equity lens, said Nicole Bronzan, senior communications officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Bronzan addressed about 60 Dow Jones News Fund interns and their supervisors in a May 27 webinar.
Bronzan, who worked as an editor at The New York Times before directing communications for nonprofit organizations, said reporters should apply two major principles when covering these communities:
First, journalists should focus on the reasons situations aren’t equitable. “You have to start [the story] with the problem because people don’t always know about it,” Bronzan said. “But don’t stay there. Don’t let that be all the story is about.”
If journalists are reporting a statistic that says black people are three times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white people, they should dig into the underlying causes—such as access to affordable and stable housing and good jobs with fair pay—that led to that disparity in health.Continue reading “COVID19: Telling ‘The story of why’”
Nina Totenberg, who, for the record is all of 5-foot, 4 ½-inches and looks like everyone’s favorite aunt, is no different.
Totenberg has been on NPR almost since it first went on the air in 1970 and she loves to talk about what it was like “back then.”
“I’m so old that there were no women reporters when I was young,” she told a crowd of college journalists in Washington, D.C. “I wanted to be Nancy Drew. I figured as I got older I realized I couldn’t be Nancy Drew because, first of all, I’d have to kill my mother. Nancy Drew had her widowed father and her boyfriend Ned and her red roadster. And none of those things were going to happen to me and I really loved my mother.”
She enjoys a good laugh.
So, she wasn’t going to be Nancy Drew. And she wasn’t going to be a police detective.
The cool weather and drizzle didn’t stop 29 photographers from submitting images in Louisville as part of the annual Photo Shoot-out for college photojournalists.
Andrew Walter of Eastfield College said, “I liked how free the theme was in that as long as you believed your image fit the theme of ‘Gateway to the South,’ you could capture an image of anything you found newsworthy.”
Zahn Schultz of Central Washington University said, “It challenges participants to think critically and put the skills they have learned into a new and unfamiliar environment. It’s also a ton of fun, getting to explore a new city and find new and different perspectives camera in hand is an absolute blast.” Continue reading “Photographers document ‘Gateway to the South’”
By Bradley Wilson, Ph.D. Midwestern State University
Since 1945, the College Photographer of the Year competition has been the premier competition for college photographers. Last spring, CPOY, administered at the University of Missouri, announced the winners selected from 11,024 still images, 82 portfolios, 456 picture stories and 169 multimedia stories and projects entered by 545 student photographers from 99 colleges and universities in 18 countries.
Surviving Sandy, other storms and a flood–and getting the college paper out
By Carolyn Schurr Levin
One of the most important, albeit seemingly routine, tasks of a college newspaper staff is the physical act of getting the newspaper out.
But what happens when a crisis hits, as it did when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, only to be followed the following week by a nor’easter?
Among the college newspapers hit by Hurricane Sandy were the Pioneer, the weekly student newspaper at Long Island University Post in Brookville, N.Y., and the College Voice at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey. The College Voice publishes every three weeks.
In anticipation of the forecasted strong winds and hurricane conditions, Long Island University Post cancelled all classes on Monday, Oct. 29. Administrators encouraged students who could to evacuate the dormitories and return home. Approximately 600 students remained in the dorms during the storm.