The online worlds of Twitter, Facebook and WordPress welcomed new members on Aug. 1 from C.E. Sikkenga and Rod Satterthwaite’s “Taking Your Newspaper to the Edge” class. By learning ways to gain readership for their specific school publication, the students also gain knowledge to jumpstart their own professional portfolios. The importance of branding one’s self and promoting an image were then followed by an emphasis on information graphics and the 300-word story.
“I personally love 300-word stories,” Rochester High School student Emily Hayward said. “I kind of define myself as a writer and that’s why I love journalism. That’s what makes it so much fun to me; you get to go talk to people about their life story. Especially for someone you don’t know, you just build up a trust and hear about where they’re coming from and what they’ve done and write that in a way that’s meaningful that people want to read.”
Not only were students given time to work on the homework assignments of their own 300-word story, but instructors Sikkenga and Swatterthwaite also sat down and discussed how to update the publications represented in the room.
“It’s more trying to find ways to take some things they’re already doing well and build on them without throwing away what’s great about their papers already,” Sikkenga said. “The papers I’m seeing from kids in this class are really phenomenal papers; they’re doing far more really good than bad.”
Looking ahead to the conclusion of MIPA’s ‘J-cation’ summer workshop, Sikkenga said he knows what he wants his students to part with.
He said, “It almost sounds like a cliché but new ideas, some fresh ideas, some things they haven’t considered where maybe they go, ‘you can do that in a high school paper?’ Yeah, you can do that, you should do that.” By Samantha VanHoef / Upstart Staff