Spring 2011 // Volume 5 // Issue 2 // Ball State Produced
welcome l brian hayes
Spring 2011 Volume 5 Issue 2 Blend Magazine c/o Department of Journalism Ball State University Muncie, IN 47306 SES DIRECTOR Brian Hayes EDITOR Megan McNames EDITOR AT LARGE Tom Gayda BUSINESS MANAGER Megan McNames CONTRIBUTORS Sarah Nichols Logan Aimone Kim Green Arriel Vinson Andrea Giacalone OFFICE STAFF Sarah Bergsieker Anna Kaiser
Brian Hayes is the director of Secondary Education at Ball State University. He is a former adviser of student publications at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis. Hayes has worked professionally for several newspapers.
Designer Chelsea Kardokus Blend Magazine is published by the Secondary Education Services office at Ball State University. Call 765-285-8900 for advertising information. You can always e-mail the staff at email@example.com. FOR NSPA Logan Aimone executive director
There has been a lot of discussion recently about education reform. Many states are currently considering new legislation addressing private school vouchers, charter school funding and labor/union laws. Public schools across the country are cutting millions of dollars out of their operating budgets each year because the money they receive from the state and federal government is shrinking. While school districts are doing everything they can to save teachers, some school programs are beginning to be impacted. Funding for extracurricular activities and non-core course offerings is getting harder to maintain. There is a bit of hope, however, at an inner-city high school in Indianapolis. Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities opened in fall 2009 as a new magnet school option for Indianapolis Public School students. With four magnet programs in Humanities, Performing Arts, Visual Arts and Media Communications, students can get a strong education in a field they are interested in while meeting state graduation requirements for an academic honors diploma. In just two years, student publications adviser Kathy Jesse has coached her students how to
tell journalistic stories in both print and online. Recently, The Riparian, Broad Ripple’s student newspaper, won nine Columbia Scholastic Press Association gold circles for online journalism ranging from breaking news coverage to online video. This is the first national award for the Media Communications Magnet Program at Broad Ripple and the first for an IPS school in a number of years. Under strong leadership from the media communications teachers and staff, Broad Ripple is on the verge of creating the most comprehensive media communications program in the state. With courses in broadcast news, cinematography, digital editing, media law, interactive media and newspaper/ yearbook journalism, students in the magnet program are getting the first-hand experience they need to study media at a post-secondary institution and to pursue careers in the communications field. This issue’s classroom spotlight features Broad Ripple’s student newspaper, The Riparian (page 12). Authored by student editor Arriel Vinson, her insights give us a glimpse into the life and times of working on student publications in a growing innercity magnet program.
Emily Griesser member services director Kathy Huting contest/critique coordinator Marc Wood communications director Suzanne Taber administrative assistant Tahera Mamdani accountant FIRST AMENDMENT Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
table l of contents 5 nspa 6 ask kim 8-9 infographics
11 q&a with Myra Borshoff Cook 12-15 welcome to... Broad Ripple HS 18-22 creating buzz
24-26 time crunch 28-30 graphics of the year 31 more online
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nspa l logan aimone
Doubletrucks: Plan ahead
Logan Aimone is the executive director of the National Scholastic Press Association.
It happens all the time, and it’s probably happened to you: “What should we have for this month’s double truck?”
Why? What do our readers need to know about this? Why? I guarantee you could find something healthrelated to write about (and localize) every week.
The idea of filling two full newspaper pages on a single topic is intimidating, and many staffs believe they must run an in-depth story each issue. Associations, like NSPA, who run contests bear some responsibility for the idea that the natural spread in a newspaper has to be some sort of in-depth coverage. It doesn’t. In fact, it shouldn’t unless the topic really merits two full pages. One-page features can be handled very well. Additionally, organize the paper in a way that allows for flexibility — one-pagers as the default and doubletrucks when necessary.
• Try a section on something that is of high interest to your student readership. Why not a section about family or faith? Maybe you could have a series of stories that showcase the activities families do together. Make it a quick-read format and go photograph the family. A few of these could be prepared at once and printed over several issues.
One way to structure the paper is to develop sections that will yield specific content. Some ideas: • You probably have a sports section, but do you have a page for leisure? The leisure page could cover everything that isn’t a school sport — hiking, video games, Ultimate Frisbee, Scouting, hobbies. • Develop a page on health, and you will never have a shortage of topics. Scour newspapers such as The New York Times, which offer a bounty of national news items with health-related news pegs. Localize them. To do this, simply ask questions: Is this happening here?
• Teens are just entering the world of money and finance, and they need more consumer education. A series of helpful stories on how to get a checking account, be disciplined about saving money, get a credit card, buy a car (and the insurance) or rent an apartment would be of great value to your readers. Alternate story forms would make these more approachable. Once you have structured the paper into sections such as these, the story idea-generation process is easier. Instead of asking “What should we write about for the double truck this month?” you’re now asking “What can we cover for leisure?” “What’s the most important health story this month?” For a winter issue in leisure, do a creative take on some snow sport. As the weather warms, switch to other pursuits: horseback riding, hiking, geocaching, etc. Health in the spring could be how students cope with allergies. It’s important to find students to use as your “representative sample” — kids at school who tell the story. Otherwise you just have an encyclopedia report on the topic — boring and useless and something no one will read. When the editors commit to a section like those mentioned above, it forces better content overall. You have to develop a structure of sections that works for your paper and your school. Don’t just get locked into News, Opinion, Features, Sports (and sometimes A&E). Think about what your readers need and want, and create a paper that serves them. Content ideas will come naturally.
Expand your coverage by brainstorming new sections. The Redwood Bark at Redwood HS in Larkspur, Calif., won an NSPA Design of the Year award for their doubletruck on summer jobs (shown above).
And when you really need two pages to tell an indepth story with multiple components, it will be obvious. Your discipline in providing the most appropriate space for each story will pay off.
Spring 2011 | Blend Magazine | 5
ask l kim
Should I stay or should I go? With winter a distant, dismal memory and summer shimmering on the horizon, this issue’s question is a great one! Then, take a quick course in four errors to fix immediately! Here we go! Sam: I’m in a rut in journalism. My adviser talked me into giving staff another try next year, but I’m not sure. I know I get some important life skills from being involved in it, but is it really worth all the stress?
Kim Green directs the student publications at Columbus (Ind.) North High School. A 2006 Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Distinguished Adviser of the Year and 2009 JEA Distinguished Yearbook Adviser of the Year, the publications Green’s students create are consistent award winners.
Kim: Sam, are you trying to get me to talk you into trying again? Hey, just as with any dilemma, multiple solutions exist — and that fact can make life easier or harder, depending on any number of factors, so I’ll address your request in a couple of ways.
The ‘tough love’ answer No. If you have to be “talked into giving staff another try,” it doesn’t sound like you really want to do it. Don’t. Journalism is an elective not a required course. It’s not for everyone. If everyone could handle it, everyone would take it. Do yourself, your staff and your adviser (whether he or she realizes it) a favor and leave it off next year’s class schedule. Will next year be stressfree without it? No. But at least you won’t be short-changing or funsucking the life from the publications room whining about it.
the ‘find the love’ answer Time for reflection! Sit down and write out answers to a few ques-
6 | Blend Magazine | Spring 2011
tions. Why did you get involved in journalism to begin with? What do you like best about it? What are your best memories of being involved? Complete this statement starter 10 (arbitrary number) times with specific affirmations about your involvement. “I like journalism because. . .” If you haven’t found the love and talked yourself into sticking around for another year, don’t put it on your schedule!
the ‘love the list’ answer Clean sheet of paper. Two headings: Reasons to stay, Reasons to split. Longest list wins.
The real deal You’re in high school. Does deciding not to take a class that causes you stress ruin your life? Nope. Does the decision prevent you from becoming a journalist? Not necessarily. Know yourself. Know what you need and what motivates you. Know what cripples you. That knowledge will serve you better than anything someone else is trying to talk you into doing. (And if your adviser sees your potential enough to try to convince you to stay, that wise soul will also leave a door or a window open should you decide to change your mind. I know I always do!)
spring cleaning tips Looking to spiff up some things in your journalism repertoire? Here are four suggestions to make you look smarter.
1. Put that comma or period inside the quote marks every single time. This has never been correct: “But I am a punctuation rebel”, John said. 2. Get rid of indefinite pronouns. Their very name should strike them forever from journalistic writing. Specifics rule, of course, but that’s not the reason to dump the indefinites. It’s about pronoun/antecedent agreement. This has never been correct: Everybody should grab their noisemakers and come to the game. Everybody is singular; it means “every single person.” Their is plural. A no-no! But. . . Everybody should grab his or her noisemakers and come to the game is clumsy. Get rid of the indefinite pronoun and bad style disappears: Fans should grab their noisemakers and head to the game. 3. Every day is an adverb; everyday is an adjective. Know the difference. I don’t get on Facebook everyday; I get on it every day. It is an everyday occurrence. Substitute daily, which can be either an adjective or an adverb, if you can’t distinguish. 4. And for good measure, this has never been correct: By: John T. Journalist Prepositions are not separated from their objects by punctuation. You don’t say “Hey, are you going to: the concert tonight?” “Are you writing a story about: teen root beer parties?” “Will you go with: me to: prom?”
q & a l myra borshoff cook
So you want to go into PR... What kind of skills do students need in order to be prepared for the PR field?
that has that point of view because it’s different than most other aspects of business.
Our firm will be 26 years old this year. And I would say that the requirements today are no different than the requirements for when we started. And that is you need to be able to think and write. And we continue to be amazed at the number of students who come out, some even with public relations degrees, who think that they can be in public relations and not write. Plus, writing is an extension of your ability to think and organize and strategize.
What advice would you give to high school students interested in pursuing public relations?
How is the public relations field different from what high school students might be doing at their high school publications? Myra Borshoff Cook, APR, is the founding principal at Borshoff, a full-service public relations firm located in Indianapolis. Borshoff serves a wide range of clients including the Indianapolis Colts, City National Bank and Wishard Health Services.
I think in some ways it’s not enormously different than journalism. It’s obviously a different environment, but at the core of what you’re doing, it’s a communications job. And I tell people we’re in the communications business, and our job is to figure out what the client wants to do, wants to accomplish, then identify the audiences that can help get that done … So it’s probably more directed than journalism in that journalists have a job of telling people fair and balanced stories about what’s happening in their community. Public relations practitioners are generally working for a corporation, or it might be an organization. It could be a state agency or a variety of different types of entities. They will come to you to get some help on how they can be better at what they do. What does a public relations practitioner do and how did you get into the field? I never took a journalism class in high school … I just worked on the yearbook and kind of liked it and ended up going to college, intending to be an English teacher. My degree is in secondary education and I have a journalism minor. Thank God I have a journalism minor because I don’t know what I would have done. The university didn’t have any public relations courses when I was an undergraduate there. It’s amazing how it’s changed. I think that the public relations profession wasn’t as well developed 40 years ago when I was an undergraduate. People are beginning to understand and appreciate that someone who is an expert in communications ought to be at the table with the financial guy and the HR Person, and the operations manager and the lawyer and the CEO and all the other people when they’re talking about business strategy, business change, business problems. You really need to have somebody
We’ve had some high school students who have come in and have shadowed someone for an afternoon or a morning and whether it’s somebody working in an agency or it’s somebody working in a corporation, or it could be somebody working for a not-for-profit organization, there are lots of different places where public relations has a presence. And I think that if you live in a community where there is a PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) chapter or even PRSSA which is a student organization, just check and see if you could go to a meeting of theirs and hear one of their programs. They usually meet year-round and while when you’re in high school you can’t always get away for a luncheon, you could probably in June, July or August. And I think even I learn a lot from reading the newspaper every day and I read a lot of things from the perspective of “how would I handle this situation and I wonder how that’s working and I wonder where this story will go.” To follow a story and see how it develops I think can be a really good exercise in sort of understanding the dynamics of the company over here and the journalist over here on this side. Any other helpful information for our high school readers? Go to a website of any large organization and pretend that you’re a reporter looking for something. There’s usually either a news section or a media section or something that has news releases that have been issued, it might have fact sheets that have been developed, it might have stories about programs that the company has been involved with. All of that stuff comes from someplace, and it usually comes from the public relations department. Talk to your parents and if your parents work for a company or are teachers or work at a hospital, it’s highly likely that they’ve got somebody within those businesses who is in charge of that; it might be in the personnel division where somebody is in charge of employee communications or it could be in the investor relations division, or it could be in advertising. It could be in corporate communications or it could end up in a lot of places but it’s probably likely that there’s somebody like me everywhere.
Spring 2011 | Blend Magazine | 7
the info on infographics Infographics serve as another method of effective story telling. They help you to creatively share visual data with your readers. By Andrea Giacalone Giacalone is a junior journalism graphics major at Ball State University. She is a designer for Ball Bearings Magazine, a blogger for CommLink and an Ingelhart Scholar at Ball State.
s a journalist, your job is to tell a story. But sometimes, explaining complex data through words can be difficult — this is when an infographic can explain information and tell the story. Graphics are great visual tools for telling readers about huge amounts of information in a simpler way. An infographic is any visual presentation of statistical data. It helps you, the writer, tell the story. Your student body enjoys the photos and stories on the pages you publish. But to engage your audience one step further, use infographics. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while designing infographics: Research your topic. As a journalist, you must research all your infographics thoroughly. The data must be presented and backed by facts. Once you have your data, you must sift through and condense what you have. Look for comparisons that go along with your story. Also, remember who your demographic is and who will be using and looking at your infographic. Choose the right graphic format. Decide which type of graphic would best help you share the story to your readers. There are multiple types of formats such as a graph, pie chart, map or diagram. Maintain proportions. A slice of a pie chart representing 25 percent of something should be half as large as another slice showing 50 percent. Don’t use software tools that skew or distort the size of your chart elements and don’t just guess! Give information in multiple ways. If 30 percent of students responded favorably to a survey question, how many students was that? Was it 100 or 1000? Always include the total number of students surveyed.
8 | Blend Magazine | Spring 2011
The parts of an infographic
Symptoms & What to Look for
Header: A headline is mandatory for all infographics.
It is that time of year again. Sniffling students are all over campus. If you notice some of these symptoms, grab a tissue. Chances are you have a cold.
Subhead copy: The subhead is here to explain the relation between the written story and the infographic that you have designed.
Chatter: The chatter is the body copy of the graphic. In this graphic to the right, it explains that the graph shows each symptom of the common cold.
Watery eyes You may feel like you have more tears than normal.
Low grade fevers help our body fight off infections.
The congestion of phlegm and mucus causes you to cough.
Chest congestion Your chest may feel congested due to the excess fluid in your lungs.
Itchy or sore throat
50 colleges and universities have been rated the best by usnews.com
Top 10 11-20
Different types Do you attendof infographics 21-30
Runny or stuffy nose
a top college Check out other infographics you can use in your newspaper and yearbooks to tell your story 41-50
A by the numbers pull out box is an easy way to get out general information and news to the student body in a visually exciting way.
Delaware County Ball State University
7.5 - 11.9 13.3 - 15.6
Data collected from U.S. Census Bureau 2006-2008
Maps are a great way to show where the graduating seniors are headed off to college. This is a fun, easy way to present the information to the student body that isn’t as daunting as a huge list stating where everyone is going.
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
35.7 - 53.4
21.5 - 31.2
16.2 - 20.3
weeks until finals week and winter break! Get to studying!
Tippecanoe County Purdue University
Percentage of people 25 years and over who have completed a bachelor’s degree in Indiana
percent of the study body voted last week in the student government elections.
Popular Social networking Sites
BACHELOR’S DEGREES IN INDIANA
by the numbers
Source Credit: You must give credit to the sources that you used when researching the infographic. This helps the reader TOP-RANKED understand COLLEGES & where the information came from and adds UNIVERSITIES credibility to your graphic. In the graphic to the left, credit is IN THE U.S. given in the bottom, left-hand corner.
students attending the football game, where the Cougars won 14-7.
d at e
We sneeze as a reflex to remove bacteria and other germs.
Your body may feel achy due to the extra work your immune system is doing.
Byline: Don’t forget to give credit to the designer. In the design
Slight body aches
• Stay rested • Blow your nose • Take Tylenol and/or decongestants • Drink warm liquids • Take a warm bath • Keep a balanced diet
You may feel like you don’t have much energy.
Graphic: The graphic should always be the dominate image. Yes, your text is important, but the point of using an infographic is for the readers to understand the story visually.
Soothe your cold...
TIONto the right, credit is given in the bottom, right-hand corner.
hry d. of
The Common Cold
Graphs, such as bar and pie charts, are a great way to visually get out information dealing with numbers and comparisons. Spring 2011 | Blend Magazine | 9
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF
CONVENTIONS By Tom Gayda There is a certain excitement that comes with attending a state, regional or national journalism convention. Of course, you are out of school for a day or two, but during that time you get to interact with other like-minded students from other schools, allowing you to share ideas and recharge your journalistic batteries. Every conference or convention can be beneficial, if you plan ahead and have a game plan. Let’s take a look at my top student tips for convention attending. You’re guaranteed to have an outstanding time!
1. The grass is always greener?
It often seems the grass is always greener on the other side, but remember, when you attend a session, you are hearing someone talk about their “best of.” I can remember as a student attending a conference and hearing about a staff that had couches, a fridge in the room and parties nearly every day. That all sounded great, but it quickly got me down about my own staff, despite all the good things we had going. Today, my own students get excited when they hear things at a convention that sound too good to be true. Even I let my jaw drop from time to time, but having been around the block enough times I now realize that you always take the good with the bad. Don’t get too down when you think everyone else is better. You’re likely only hearing part of the story. Each staff has unique upsides and touchy downsides. I doubt there is such a thing as a perfect staff, so tread carefully. There is likely a student who
10 | Blend Magazine | Spring 2011
would rather be on your staff than the one they are on, so while the grass may always seem greener, it might not always hold true.
2. Thank your adviser.
There is a lot of work that goes into planning a field trip to attend a conference, so take a minute and make sure to thank your adviser either in person or with a short note. Advising can be a thankless job, so make sure to show a little appreciation and your adviser will be quite appreciative back.
3. When your questions are answered…
Convention sessions are great for interacting with speakers who can provide fresh insight into an issue or problem you are facing at your school. Remember, though: Not every problem can be solved during a 50-minute session. If you have an issue and the session has provided time for questions, understand that the presenter will do his or her best to help, but might not provide the answer you want. I’ve gotten to the point at sessions to let kids know that I am happy to take questions, however in the interest of getting to as many questions as possible, to please ask follow-ups after the session. There have been times when I have been asked about a staff dispute or legal problem that goes something like this: “Tom, our two editors are always fighting. They used to date and now that they broke up all they do is fight and I am left to do all the work.” “Hmm, that’s too bad. Have you discussed this with your adviser?” (Pet peeve alert: A first idea has been
presented for you to solve a problem. But it isn’t what you wanted to hear, so you keep going…) “Our adviser loves the editors and won’t want to hear what we have to say about them.” “My guess is your adviser would be open to a discussion if it is affecting your class. Is there perhaps another student who could go with you to talk to your adviser?” (And still not making the attendee happy…) “He only likes the editors.” “Sometimes it is tough, but you have to stand-up for what you believe in, and if you believe the editors are a problem, a major problem, you should discuss with your adviser.” This conversation could go on and on. I am not sure what answer the student was looking for short of me saying, “Allow me to move halfway across the country, get your adviser fired, get hired at your school and then fire your editors!” My point: be flexible, don’t monopolize time and understand not every question can be answered to your liking in 30 seconds.
4. You are not the first kids to attend a convention. Be mindful of your surroundings. For years I have said that as soon as you take kids out of state, no matter how good of kids they are at school, they go weird.
So … if you are from even the smallest of towns, do some research ahead of time so you know what to expect.
Attending conventions is a great way to learn about other programs, generate ideas for your publication and improve your journalism skills. But don’t forget about the students who stay home – take notes and keep a journal of your ideas to share with your staff when you return to school. Photo by Megan McNames Elevators have been in use for years. Tipping at hotels is appropriate. Walking the wrong way on an escalator isn’t clever. Running in crowded halls is not fun. Getting up en masse while a speaker is presenting is rude. Additionally, be extra mindful of cell phone etiquette. Speak respectfully to people and be patient. Convention trips can be a lot of fun, but make sure you do your part, too.
5. Be a sponge.
We’ve established that getting out of
school can be a great reward, however don’t spend an entire convention avoiding the good stuff. Don’t just attend sessions, but take notes so you can share with your classmates. Sketch designs. Take down web addresses. Be an active listener. When you get back to school, share what you have learned with the kids who didn’t attend the conference. And speaking of that…
6. Don’t go exclusive.
Chances are not everyone from your staff will get to attend the convention. When you return to school don’t
focus on the inside jokes you and the kids who attended have created. Share what you have learned with everyone, and perhaps grab some small souvenirs to give to the kids who stayed home. The experience should be about making your publication better, so avoid doing things that might divide the staff instead of unite it. There are no doubt dozens of other tips that can help you plan for a successful convention trip, but these six are a good start for you to get the most out of your exciting experience.
Spring 2011 | Blend Magazine | 11
THIS NEWSROOM 12 | Blend Magazine | Spring 2011
The staff of The Riparian give us a look at life in their Indianapolis Magnet High School. ÂŤ
Spring 2011 | Blend Magazine | 13
Staffing One staff contributes to both The Ripa rian and Riparian Online, while a seco nd staff contributes to the yearbook. Man y students work for both staffs.
By Arriel Vinson There is no “normal” day with the Riparian publication. Some days the staff is full of stress, and other days we are full of ideas! From working on yearbook to updating the website constantly, we stay busy. I wouldn’t trade the experience with this staff for anything. Being a new program, I feel there’s a lot of room for improvement, but I know it will take time. Our news magazine is quite small, about 8-12 pages, and is printed monthly. Students seem to like to read it. Mrs. Jesse, my adviser, and I are working to find new ways to get students engaged and reading our stories. We have created a Facebook page and a Twitter account to spark more interest among the student body. Luring students to our website is our biggest obstacle, but we try our best to promote our publications and get the word out about each new issue. When “yearbook season”, as I call it, be-
gins, the staff is on a mission 24/7. Everyday at school we are writing stories and researching new information. If we aren’t ID-ing a picture, we are collecting quotes to jazz up a yearbook page, or Mrs. Jesse and I are sending a staff member out to take pictures of events. I love to design yearbook pages and help out staff members when they’re stuck and don’t know what else to do with a page. Yearbook time can be one of the most stressful times of the year in high school journalism. I can admit, we will bicker and disagree when a page is not done or there are no pictures for a spread. In the end, however, all the hard work we put into the yearbook shows. Staff members seem to enjoy covering the life and times of attending our magnet school in the yearbook (plus, we get in the events for free). Not everything is all fine and dandy with our staff though. Sometimes, staff members are not enthusiastic about new ideas or stories and I feel like I’m a weirdo for enjoying journalism so much. I sometimes
Ripple Magnet Journalism students at Broad the school’s online to High School also contribute . Students use the line On n publication, The Riparia ent system to publish Wordpress content managem er. Students also constories throughout the semest to the site. eos tribute slideshows and vid
Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities has an enrollment of 1,112 students. For the 2010 school year, the student 12 14 Blend | Blend Magazine | Spring 2011
feel clueless as to how to get students motivated. So, I struggle when it seems like no one wants to work, or no one cares. There are times when the staff is amped up to do something new. It’s like a roller coaster — the staff’s feelings about the publication go up and down. It also seems that we are spreading ourselves thin. Our small staff manages the yearbook, website and the news magazine. For example, if we devote too much time to the yearbook, then our news magazine suffers. With us being a new program,
everyone works on all publications. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of work, time and effort to keep all of this running. All in all, I love working on publications and everything that comes with it. We may go through stressful times, since we are new, but you live and learn. I am determined to make the staff better next year, and better myself. Everyone can improve, and there is progress to be made with the yearbook, news magazine and website. A day in the life of a Riparian staff member is never normal, but that’s the fun of it all.
Students at Broad Ripple Magnet High School can graduate fro m a specialized program in media commu nications.
newspaper, The Riparian, won nine Columbia Scholastic Press Association gold circles for online journalism ranging from breaking news to online video. Spring 2011 | Blend Magazine | 15
CELEBRATING A SINGLE SCHOOL YEAR CAN BE A LIFETIME COMMITMENT. It takes a special person to help teenagers with no experience in publishing turn their first yearbook project into a timeless classic, but that’s the challenge for adviser Susie Weidner. While her expertise and limitless energy give her students a head start, Susie knows there are new challenges that arise with each yearbook. Fortunately, Susie also knows that Herff Jones is always there to support her and her students. Our knowledgeable representatives get to know the little things that make each school unique. We offer new ideas and smarter ways to make a yearbook come alive. And we are genuinely committed to providing trusted solutions that make a difference for Susie today. So her students will have something truly special tomorrow. DOWNLOAD OUR FREE WHITEPAPER ON DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING AT HERFFJONES.COM/LEARNINGPAPER
herffjones.com/learningpaper © 2011 Herff Jones, Inc.
SUSIE WEIDNER YEARBOOK ADVISER
Get word out about your publication in just four easy steps By Sarah Nichols
“Yes?” I asked with raised eyebrows and a slightly annoyed expression. “Um, we were wondering if you had any more copies of The Roar.” As it turned out, we didn’t. Journalism staffers passed out copies of the news magazine at break that morning, tapped into the secret reserve stash at lunch, and by the start of last block had parted with copies usually reserved for advertisers and exchanges. Everything was gone. The student returned to her class disappointed, but I smiled inside. People were reading the paper. They wanted copies. They were talking about it.
It wasn’t always like this. In fact, despite coverage of important topics and professional-looking design, it took about five years for the news magazine at Whitney (Calif.) High School to evolve into a relevant and popular commodity on campus, which was a bit odd considering that the yearbook had been a sellout sensation since day one. Yearbook is a big deal to us, and luckily it’s a pretty big deal at our school. But the Details staff works at creating a buzz and keeping the momentum. “Each year the book has become even more about what people want and seeing how they really are,” editor Katie Rogers said. “It’s important for students to see what we make for them as we’re making it, because everything we do is for them.” Whether your publication is new or just in need of a boost, promotion can make a big difference in generating the buzz you desire. Looking to increase readership, boost sales, recruit staff, expand coverage? Sharing ideas can kick-start your publications staffs into spreading the excitement, just as it did for us. It boils down to four key concepts.
ot 15 minutes into the last class of the day, another student burst through the doors of C-2. Seeing me mid-lesson at the doc cam, she paused, smiled sheepishly and waited.
Let people know you’re out there For starters, get your identity out there in as many places and ways possible.
From giving away promotional materials at freshman orientation to a meet-and-greet on summer registration days, be as visible as possible. Make copies of your publication available at the district office, school office, counseling office and anywhere else students and parents might visit. Every student at your school needs to know about student publications and how to get them.
Promoting your publication and promoting your staff are two different things, but they directly benefit each other.
Wear staff shirts, not just for distribution events but on a regular basis so that kids at your school start to identify members of the student press. According to staffer Kelci Davis, journalists at Francis Howell Central (Mo.) have five staff shirts this year.
Utilize morning announcements, bulletin boards and hallways or high-profile areas to post
photos, pages or teasers from upcoming stories. (Here’s where social media plays an important role, but we’ll get to that in a moment.)
Jump on any special opportunities – or create your own. While
yearbook is not a “club“ on campus, our yearbook staff runs a carnival-like booth at Club Rush with face painting, photos, prizes, games, surveys and other enticements in hopes of bringing every student our way during the hour-long club event. We use the opportunity to tell students about the book, ask their
opinion, promote sales and generate interest in upcoming coverage opportunities. We also attend Back to School Night in the fall and Showcase Night in the spring, using every opportunity to get people excited about the book and about being part of it.
When reporters are out covering an event in the community or on the sidelines at a big game, make sure they are wearing staff shirts and press passes to raise awareness for your publication. For big events like Homecoming or play-offs, reporters can distribute small promo cards to fans – or leave them as windshield fliers – with a message such as “For complete coverage of tonight’s game, visit us online at …” or “Amazing photos from tonight’s game will appear in the 2011 yearbook...”)
In general, the key is to maintain a constant connection with your student body rather than
isolated time periods like at each newspaper issue distribution with nothing in between. And for yearbook staffs, meeting that challenge is even more important.
“We embrace the unity and fun of T-shirts. It’s easy to tell considering we have shirts (for print, online, a joke shirt, FHC Publications and 45words), and sometimes we organize it to have the staff wear the same shirt. On the day the paper comes out, we all have matching Paper Day shirts. This is a really easy way to create a buzz, and it’s fun showing that you’re a part of the publication,” —Kelci Davis, Francis Howell Central (Mo.) High School
E L P O E P E V L O INV PROCESS E H T IN With the amount of time students spend using Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networking sites, it’s easier than ever to connect with students for free. Having a profile, fan page and new equivalent helps you stay in the conversation. Once you’re online and connected to a large group of students, consider these forms of outreach:
• Solicit input about possible yearbook cover designs, themes or colors based on examples posted. [Which of these yearbook covers do you like best?]
• Pose an open-ended question about coverage. [What would you like to see in the next issue?]
• Measure student interest about a particular topic. [The cafeteria has a different kind of breadsticks this week. Discuss.]
• Call for photo submissions. [If you’re
going anywhere cool for spring break, send us your photos.]
• Ask a question to find sources for interviews. [Were you at the flash mob
when it happened? If you’re willing to be interviewed, please contact us!]
• Comment on news to tease the publication. [Great talent show tonight! Good thing we had four photographers there to bring you amazing photos in the 2011 yearbook!]
If your publications aren’t using social media to their advantage, it’s time. In fact, it’s past time.
But since each school operates differently and school districts may be getting in the way, there are other ways to involve people in your coverage process. Make posters to hang around school asking for photos from specific events. Use a digital photo frame in a display case on campus to showcase outstanding photos or to tease layouts. Create a paper survey if you can’t use Web-based sites like Survey Monkey to conduct polls. Focus groups create buzz, too. Select students from each grade level and all walks of life, sending them a special invitation to participate. Host a pizza luncheon or bagel/muffin breakfast as an opportunity to talk personally with these panelists. As you ask their opinions on content and coverage and use their feedback to drive decisions, you’ll build relationships and word will spread quickly that you’re a reader-driven publication with students’ best wants and needs at heart.
SOCIAL NETWORKS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF: FACEBOOK: You can make your publication a page and make announcements through status updates and messages. Try asking readers to comment on your content.
t TWITTER: Have people from your school start following your publication. Send out tweets about upcoming events, release dates and fundraisers. Following other students at your school can also help you generate story ideas.
TUMBLR: Use Tumblr to share information to students throughout the school. Start a blog for them to follow what your publication is up to and involve them in surveys, etc.
GOOGLE DOCS: Have your staff use Google Docs to generate a list of story ideas that everyone can contribute to and change. Having your whole staff contribute will help you get your resources together.
ISSUU Uploading pdfs of your publication to Issuu will allow people who can’t get a physical copy to read your paper and see your designs. Creating your own website is even better — its contents will show up in online searches.
TWEETDECK: Get the most out of Twitter with Tweetdeck. This free software lets you sift through tweets and lump tweets into categories. Creating a search for the name of your school or a hashtag many students use can help you filter out information that’s relevant to you and your staff.
try SOmethin NEW!
“I asked every reporter (on a Monday) to invite all of his/her friends and set a goal: “500 friends by Friday” in the fall and promised the staff we would have a party if we made our goal. We had 513 friends that Friday!”
—Meghan Morris, The Spoke; Conestoga (Pa.) High School
At Rocklin (Calif.) High School the switch from monthly newspaper to quarterly news magazine brought a new design and the introduction of spot color on every page, but the real game changer was when the editors decided to build each issue around one theme. Going beyond the idea of a cover story and various related packages inside the issue, The Flash staff now selects one concept for each edition and every story inside follows that angle. Readers love their fresh approach and it gives a cohesive feel to the publication. Even if the publication is top-notch and has a strong readership, staffers can push themselves. The 2010 Details editors felt a strong sense of pride in the yearbook, but they wanted to add value to the printed book and explore various forms of digital media to bring coverage to readers in new ways. This drove them to provide additional yearbook content in the form of a website, detailsyearbook.com, which included Soundslides presentations, photo galleries on Flickr, profiles and pages linked to Issuu and the ability for students to comment. The HiLite staff at Carmel (Ind.) High School hosted a live online chat during the State of the Union address. The chat was embedded in the news website so students could follow along with and comment on the State of the Union while reading the comments of their peers as well. Two managing editors followed along to monitor comments.
This [live chat] was a really cool way we could not only draw people to our website, but also encourage dialogue amongst students.
- HiLite editor Sara Rogers
WHAT HAVE OTHER SCHOOLS DONE?
“I’ve found that we especially get a lot of attention when we have press credentials to big-name bands or important events like the gubernatorial debates I went to this year or the Taylor Swift concert we published photos from.” —Zoe Newcomb, The Broadview; Convent of the Sacred Heart (San Francisco) High School
We wanted a new way of getting kids involved. In honor of Scholastic Journalism Week, we had a raffle for a column in the newspaper, allowing them to write about whatever they want. —Brittany Valencic, The Red & Black; Hillsborough (Fla.) High School
Keep doing what’s already working If you’ve created a buzz about your publication, you’ll know. You’ll feel it. But as with any goal, it’s good to establish something measurable and monitor your progress periodically. Early in the process, staffers should address a few key questions: Are students reading our publication? What’s our typical sales rate? Do we run out of copies of the paper? Do people know our URL? What’s the perception/ reputation of the publication around school?
Some aspects are easy to measure and monitor, such as yearbook sales, website page views and “likes” or followers on social media sites. In some other areas, though, you’ll have to rely on observation, student surveys and anecdotal evidence to learn what’s working. Creating buzz is especially important for a new publications. Promotion is critical when a staff first goes online or expands the online presence. In 2009 when the Whitney High School staff started WhitneyUpdate.com, nobody knew the site existed. Driving traffic to the site was just as important as creating the site’s content, so the staff planned a blitz week of promotional activities that included giveaways, announcements, signage and costumes.
Monday: Staffers arrived early to chalk the campus
walkways with the website URL. They hung posters at each entrance with balloons and had a message on the morning announcements. Tuesday: After borrowing a button-making machine from a club on campus, staffers made and distributed 250 small pins with the website logo. Students also wore their staff T-shirts. Wednesday: With permission from the activities director, the mascot toured campus at break and lunch to distribute candy with notes attached promoting the Facebook page and website. Staffers wore plastic armor, sombreros and capes to attract attention. Thursday: Before school, students went to each classroom to write the URL on the white board. Wearing homemade shirts splatter-painted with the website logo, students passed out flyers in the parking lot and left windshield notes. Friday: They distributed the first print issue of the year, which had teasers to online coverage and a news story about the new website. Based on a contest promoted on Twitter, staffers gave cupcakes to the first 10 responders. After attracting visitors, the key is maintaining a steady stream of fresh content so readers have a reason to revisit the site regularly.
BALL STATE UNIVERSITY
Emerging Media Journalism Classes Open to teachers and students Learn to produce multimedia journalism using real-world techniques and software.
n Courses in multimedia include:
video, audio, still photography, design n Credit or non-credit options n Self-paced, online classes n Award-winning faculty n Guest presenters from The New
York Times n See website for details on
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CRUNCH Avoid the crash with communication By Megan McNames If meeting deadlines puts you and your staff in a panic, take a deep breath. There may not be a perfect recipe for getting students to meet deadlines, but there are a
few things you and your staff can do. We recently asked student editors and adviser Gary Lindsay of The Torch at John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, how they make deadlines less dreadful for everyone.
Spring 2011 | Blend Magazine | 25
Enforce the deadline system The Torch publishes every four weeks, so deadlines are pretty tight. Student editors begin planning for each issue with a staff story idea session, after which editors choose the story ideas they want to use and set first and final draft deadlines. Editors also assign stories and photos, giving writers and photographers about a week to work on the content. Students who don’t meet the final draft deadline have to come in for a Saturday morning work ses-
sion, or the following Monday or Tuesday evening before the paper is due to the printer. “We don’t let someone get away with just not doing an assignment,” Michael Hoefer, managing editor, said. “If it’s not in we know about it. We’ll contact them and make sure they do it the Monday or Tuesday before we go to print.” Missed deadlines, reported to the adviser by editors, result in lowered grades.
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Art Ar rtticl iclee due!
meeting 8 am
14 1 4
birthd b t day day ppartyy
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math project due!
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“Each section has a different table in the room and each writer goes to his or her section and discusses how their writing
is coming along,” Hoefer said. “The writers don’t want to say they haven’t started. They know Table Talk is happening so they do their best to get started.” Table talk keeps editors in touch with their writers and allows them to perform quality checks along the way. Student editors can see interview questions, possible sources and story angles ahead of time.
Put the editors in charge “The real key thing that makes all of this work is that idea of student ownership of the process,” adviser Gary Lindsay said. “My editors feel that they really are in charge. They have earned the right to lead this newspaper … They really believe that this is their paper and they want it to be the best it can be.”
The real key thing that makes all of this work is that idea of student ownership of the process.” – Gary Lindsay, The Torch adviser
Strike a balance with fun “If you are too relaxed kids will blow deadlines off,” Alex Busbee, editor-in-chief, said. “If you are too tight kids will cut corners and the quality will go down. Stress that it has to be done by a certain time but that it has to maintain quality. “ To keep deadlines from being
overly stressful, the Torch staff invites parents to provide meals at work sessions and sometimes gives out prizes for good work. “Have fun too,” Hoefer said. “Make it fun and people will want to work on staff and make a good paper with the other staff members.”
Try high-tech accountability If your editors aren’t able to meet with staff or if you are publishing on the web, where deadlines are a lot tighter, Tracy Anne Sena, adviser at Convent of the Sacred Heart High School in San Francisco, suggests doing what her staff does: Use Google Docs. With Google Docs, students can share documents, see each other’s progress at any time throughout the writing process and make edits from any computer. “You know exactly where everyone is every minute of the day as far as working on their stories,” Sena said. “If you’ve asked someone to make revisions and they haven’t, it documents everything that you’ve done. Absolutely everything. There’s no ‘I lost my story.’ All the excuses really disappear.” With Google Docs, Sena’s staff is not only using technology to collaborate on stories and create accountability, they’ve also cut down on paper costs, printing only proof sheets for each issue.
Communicate with staff daily Each journalism class starts with two to five minutes of announcements from editors about what needs to be done for the day. Then editors meet with their writers for five to ten minutes for something they call Table Talk.
register for class
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The Long Weekend Focus on Journalism
Join us on campus at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa for The Long Weekend journalism camp June 17-19, open to middle or high school students. For more information, contact ASPA at email@example.com or visit the website at www.aspa.ua.edu.
B Sam Gorsuch, Callie Bretthauer, Kelsey Blackwell The Talon Times Lake Community HS Lake Villa, Ill.
Lawrence Central HS Indianapolis, Ind.
EST OF newspaper art
West Side Story Iowa City West HS Iowa City, Iowa
The Viking Vanguard Puyallup HS Puyallup, Wash.
2010 & graphics The Black & White | Walt Whitman HS | Bethesda, Md.
Sabrina Ghaus | El Estoque | Monta Vista HS | Cupertino, Calif.
Hawkeye Mountlake Terrace HS Mountlake, Wash.
Eagle Edition Episcopal School of Dallas Dallas, Texas
Jag Wire Mill Valley HS Shawnee, Kan.
Blue & Gold Findlay HS Findlay, Ohio
The Peninsula Outlook Peninsula HS Gig Harbor, Wash.
Communicator Community High School Ann Arbor, Mich.
Phoebe Unterman | The Harbinger | Shawnee Mission East HS | Prairie Village, Kan.
30 | Blend Magazine | Spring 2011
The infographics and illustrations presented here come from the NSPA Design of the Year competition and the Art & Graphics section of the NSPA publication, Best of the High School Press.
this issue l online
Check out our extra features online at blendmagazine.org Set up a publications site If your staff is considering setting up a publications website, this video is for you. We’ll show you how to set up a hosting service and domain name as well as load the Wordpress content management system onto your site. In just 15 minutes you’ll have a publications site up and running!
Illustrator pen tool In this video tutorial, paced for beginners, we’ll show you how to use the pen tool in Illustrator to create objects you can use for illustrations or infographics. Just a few simple steps will get you started!
The Chicago Tribune Journalism students at Ball State University recently visited Chicago for a tour of the Chicago Tribune offices. See what they learned about how the Chicago Tribune and its staff works.
So you want to go into PR... Our page 7 interview with Myra Borshoff Cook is just a small portion of what Borshoff Cook wants you to know about the public relations field. Read the full interview online!
Extended interview Spring 2011 | Blend Magazine | 31
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Join us this summer, and be ready to start the year! NATiONAl SchOlASTic PRESS ASSOciATiON
We’ve restructured our workshops
Summer Journalism Workshops July/August, 2011 University of Minnesota Minneapolis
students through a series of
Check out our website for more details and updates: NSPA.STUDENTPRESS.ORG
head start on the skills you need to
SEMInArS • Editorial Leadership • Beginning InDesign • Advanced InDesign • Basic Photoshop • Advanced Photoshop • Intense Writing • Advising Digital Media • Outreach Academy • Adviser Teach-In
to get the most learning to your seminars for those at every experience level. Join us in Minneapolis this summer, and get a be the best editor, writer, designer or adviser in the 2011-12 year! CreAte A Combo thAt WorkS for You. Are you an editor in chief who also wants to improve writing? How about a new section editor who wants to learn InDesign and Photoshop? Maybe you just need to work on your InDesign skills? You can take as many seminars as you want to improve your skills. Create the perfect mix to meet your needs. Each student can enroll in one or more seminars. Additional two-day seminars are less expensive. three free opportunitieS for AdviSerS!. Advising Digital Media and Outreach Academy each require separate applications. The Adviser Teach-in is free to all advisers — just sign up. Plan carefully. Once registration is received, cancellations and refunds are not provided, but substituions are allowed.
Our Spring 2011 issue of Blend Magazine! This season's issue of Blend features a look at the info behind infographics, tips on creating buzz...