In support of student media handoffs and the power of personal essays – Poynter

Posted: September 29, 2020 at 12:01 am

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Have I mentioned Im a big fan of takeovers? Im a big fan of takeovers. Heres what happened when the Guardian US gave a special section to American first-time voters.

Student media leaders would be wise to consider working with diverse student groups or communities to allow them the same luxury with a newspaper section or TV or radio show. Yes, you could still edit the work, but make it easier by outlying some journalism basics (be factual, write short) and getting your temporary recruits to focus on first-person essays and personal photographs. Plan a little extra production time for fact-checking and permissions and let me know how your campus responds!

Because Im a fan of takeovers, Ive written about it before (tips!). Along those lines

My friend Rich Cameron puts out a daily (!!!) email newsletter about journalism in secondary and higher ed in California (heres his Facebook group where you can get more info). On Tuesday he noted a trend of first-person pieces. He wrote, Since the pandemic began more and more colleges have gone to first-person features. Their numbers are fewer this semester than last spring, but Im beginning to see some in high school publications as well.

A good first-person essay still needs editing and guidance. Here are two oldie-but-goodies from Poynters archives:

And here are four examples of personal essays:

You can share the examples above with the non-journalists youre asking to write/shoot for your publication for inspiration. Then let them have free rein to tell their own stories for your audience.

The latest in the How to Be a Reporter series from the Washington Post: Covering the White House. I am a huge fan of these videos, and think they make incredible classroom fodder. Of course, videos take time, money, coordination and planning, but if you find these useful, maybe drop an email to and tell her how much you value them in your classroom. Heck, CC this guy for fun.

Young journalists, take note. Deanna Schwartz is the managing editor of the Huntington News at Northeastern University, and shes been burning up the professional journalism space (Poynter, the Objective) with important stories about her student journalism experience. The Lead editor Taylor Blatchford and I are always looking for pitches from student journalists, as are plenty of other places (think CJR and Neiman Lab) and its great experience to learn to pitch to editors.

I recently stumbled across The Big List of Class Discussion Strategies and thought it could prove helpful. I particularly liked TQE: This protocol has students come up with their own Thoughts, lingering Questions, and Epiphanies from an assigned reading. Teachers who have used this method say it has generated some of the richest conversations they have ever heard from students!

I love it when people say, Be careful. You dont want to get burned out. As though burnout is easily avoidable something you would just cross the street to escape, like a swarm of bees or a group of hockey fans after their team lost the Stanley Cup.

Thats why I surprised myself this week after reading about the three key signs of burnout by thinking, Wait, there are signs?

My friends at Jumpline, a community hub to support journalism educators, linked to this Inside Higher Ed column in their newsletter this week. Beating Pandemic Burnout feels so spot on, and I wanted to pass it along to you in case you, too, have been avoiding a self-diagnosis of burnout. This is just what hard work is like! I pride myself on my work ethic! Etc.

It reminds me that the most important thing right now isnt pedagogy, but people.

The single biggest action Ive taken in Pandemica is to commit to a nightly walk at 6 p.m. I set my entire day by it, and its remarkable how the rest of my family has accepted and worked around my little corner of self-care. I cant recommend this kind of movement enough.Try to walk a few nights this week even for just a few minutes. See how you feel with a little movement and fresh air.

Also in my self-care world, Im going to take some time this weekend to finish the novel Hamnet by Maggie OFarrell and try to watch The Post again, because I want to enjoy once again that subtle moment where Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham orders publication. I think those are the kind of joyful moments health professionals are urging us to seize.

And hey. Dont burn out.

Barbara Allen is the director of college programming. She can be reached atballen@poynter.orgor on Twitter, @barbara_allen_

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In support of student media handoffs and the power of personal essays - Poynter

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September 29th, 2020 at 12:01 am

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