Feature Coverage class profiles instructor

Instructor Julia Satterthwaite is interviewed by students in her Opinion Coverage class at MIPA 2012. Students are taught to structure stories by pairing a big issue with the right person. SAMANTHA VONHOEF / PHOTO

“I got third place…and I was really proud of that,” said Feature Coverage Instructor Julia Satterthwaite. “It was one of the biggest accomplishments for me, that by the end of the class they were volunteering to read in class and asking me for additional books after not knowing how to read.”

This is how Satterthwaite responded to one of her feature students’ questions, “Have you ever won an award for anything?” during class Monday morning. After discussing angles and story ideas, students discussed what goes into a feature section, including informative, environmental and human interest features. Satterthwaite then opened up the floor for the students to ask questions in order to profile her.

“You’ve got to get who the person really is, because they’re all going to give you the obligatory answers…the stuff that everyone already knows,” Satterthwaite said. “If you want to find something new, you’ve got to go find the story.”

Satterthwaite said she hopes the students focus on their sources for their future stories.

“You have to bring it home to your readers,” Satterthwaite said. “You have to find the person closest to the story, that’s the most important thing. Whatever your story is about, don’t just ask your best friend, go find the closest person to the story. Tell it so that your readers have to read the story to find out.”

But before heading home, students said they hope to keep learning through the entire week with Satterthwaite.

“(Satterthwaite) is cool and not boring,” said Ciera Roberts of Grand Ledge High School. “I want to learn more about features because I’m an opinion writer. I’m really learning a lot.”

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