Fuzzable has been sharing tips on how to help students create their own school newspaper in its three-part Give Students a Voice series. The first article, which you can read here, showed how to initiate a school publication. The second piece, available here, explained how to put together an edition of the paper. In this final piece of the series, Fuzzable will share tips on how to make a school newspaper shine.
Once a publication has its basic routine and structure, it is important to begin considering growth and improvement. With just a few simple steps, a newspaper can take itself to the next level, making it standout and gain more readership.
Great Stories Have Great Quotes
A student journalist can be a great writer, but it is the use of strong quotes that makes others want to read the story. Students tend to pick up a school newspaper with the hope of seeing their own name or a friend’s name listed in an article, so why not give them what they want? Be sure to obtain and use quotes from a diverse group of people from the school. Do not make the mistake of interviewing the same students repeatedly just because they are more popular. Instead, try to make everybody feel represented within the publication.
Captivate Interest With Photos
The first thing people see when they look at a newspaper are photos. Therefore, having photos that are both captivating and will make somebody want to read the article is important. Some features of a good photo include having a clear subject, using photo composition principles (such as leading lines or negative space), and showing something interesting. An interesting photo could be a zoom-in on something that people do not usually see, or it could be an action shot of a memorable moment. Take photos at every major school event, and make sure to take multiple shots of everything too. When it comes time to do page layout and put photos on pages, the more options, the merrier.
Share Opinions That Matter
Opinion pieces have the potential to be one of the most interesting types of articles in a school newspaper. The column and editorial section is a place where students can express their thoughts and have them read by their peers. That being said, not every opinion piece will be relevant to the student body, which is why it is necessary to think critically about opinion content. Student readers are generally more interested in opinion pieces that they can understand and of which they can form their own opinion. Tackling school-based or local city issues will allow students to relate to the opinion discussed, whether they agree with it or not. That, however, does not mean broader world issues can never be discussed. In the case of covering bigger issues, it is necessary to bring the story “back home” by using local examples of the issue or explaining how it directly impacts students. When students connect to an opinion piece, it gets them talking and brings more interest to the newspaper.
The hardest part about putting together a school paper is getting people to initially read it. While it is easy to print a stack of papers and leave them on a stand in the front foyer or library, not many students will notice or pick them up. On publication days, have the newspaper team promote the publication and hand them out to people in person. Whether that be standing at the doors before school starts or walking the halls at lunch, make the effort to personally put papers in the hands of students.
These are just some of the possible steps to help make a school newspaper shine. If you currently work with a school newspaper and have further suggestions to share, tweet us @Fuzzable to let us know.
Thank you for joining Fuzzable through the Give Students A Voice series. We hope we could be helpful in your school newspaper journeys.