Since we are nearing an important deadline for our December issue of "The Mosaic Monthly," I wanted to get a class summary and re-cap to our students as soon as possible. Please let me know if there are any questions.
Today we discussed why research is essential, where information can be found, and how do we ask the right questions to get the information we need.
Each student completed a handout titled "Research Notes." I asked the students to choose one of their three sub-topics they had prepared for their in-depth, and to list the basic facts (the 5 W's and H). This should assist your student in composing the lead paragraph of his/her article.
Next, we tried to list five questions that need to be answered about the sub-topic and if possible, another five questions that could be asked about the story. These are separate from interview questions and should help the student compose the body of the article. We then broke into our three groups from last week, shared all questions, and with my help, settled on the three most compelling. These three most compelling questions do not need to be stated within the article, rather the questions are a vehicle to help the writer address the topic they are researching.
This week, writers should interview their sources and write their in-depth article using the "Research Notes" as a guide. We also discussed how to use attribution in a news story. They should now be familiar with how to use quotes, paraphrasing or a combination of both.
Their in-depth articles will need to incorporate the elements of interviewing, research and attribution. A tall order, but I'm confident they will deliver. All in-depth pieces should be brought to class next week. We'll read them and vote as a class on which one will appear in the next issue. I will also be selecting a second piece that will not be revealed until publication!
As a side discussion, we delved into a little history lesson on the Progressive Era in the United States (c. 1890 - 1920). This era was known for its "muckraking" journalists and was responsible for bringing to light the plight of the immigrant population in New York City. Known as the "father of photography" Jacob Riis used his photographic and journalistic talents to shed light on the quality of life in the slums. We viewed three Jacob Riis photographs (similar to the one at left) and each student wrote a news article that might have appeared in a Progressive Era paper using the photograph as the only source of information. Students were initially very intimidated by this exercise, but when we shared our individual stories, I was impressed by the level of creativity but adherence to realism and proper news story creation. I think we may be getting somewhere! :>)
In addition to the in-depth article, students should bring in a typed or very neatly written first draft of their article for the December issue, if your student is responsible for writing one. The first priority is the article for the paper, the second priority is the in-depth, however, I would like to see both done and handed in by Monday, December 3rd.