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Develop strong, local story ideas to show what you can do


Good story ideas are always needed, especially those that will lead to good investigative reporting.   Students learn the most when they are on the track of a great story.   However, investigative reporting is often the most controversial and can lead to censorship problems.

Establishing a record of doing great responsible investigative reporting on subjects less controversial (at least to the administration) can provide lots of ammunition when you are fighting for the right to report something they would rather not read about.

Students not insured for health problems is a hot issue right now and one that shouldn’t cause censorship problems.   Everyone agrees it is a problem.

Teenage gambling and the problems it can lead to are another issue in the news at least here in Washington state where the state gambling commission has even sponsored a contest for student newspaper stories about it.

Responsible reporting is not easy but indepth stories are always of top interest to your readers.   Lots of sources are available on the internet, but localizing is essential.   One of the things students learn in journalism classes, and no where else, is how to interview local sources to make their stories really grab their readers.

If the subject could be embarrassing to the students interviewed, be sure to always check out use of names with the SPLC to make sure you won’t have problems there.

Show your administration that your students are responsible journalists and, hopefully, they will concern themselves less on interfering with the great learning environment you have worked so hard to nurture.

Fern Valentine, MJE

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