Journalism is at its most fundamental level about clear and compelling storytelling with the purpose of providing your reader a service. Whether you’re reporting on the lives of students in your school, localizing an international event to your community, investing in a long-term investigative piece, reviewing a movie or summarizing a sports match, you should be focused on keeping your audience’s interest and providing them with useful information. This information, if presented correctly, can have a substantial civic impact. Veteran journalists Bill Kovach and Tom Rosentiel wrote The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect and state journalism has nine elements:
- Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.
- Its first loyalty is to citizens
- Its essence is a discipline of verification.
- Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
- It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
- It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
- It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.
- It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.
- Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.
Of course, the skills students need in their journalistic arsenal depend on the type of journalism the student is doing. Are you focusing on writing for the web, for a magazine or for a newspaper? Do you want to create interactive multimedia projects available on an online blog? What if you want to jazz up your school’s print publication with photos? Below are the basics to understanding and teaching fundamental journalism skills.
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