Writing in Stereo

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WiS II - Lesson Five - The School Angle

August 29th, 2010

People in your town don't much care about the weather in Eastern Europe.  Your town is where they live.  And students in your school do not care about new rules at that high school across town.  Students at your school want to know about changes that affect them.  Media news departments everywhere-newspapers, television and cable, the Internet and radio-all look for what is commonly called the local angle.  Their readers, viewers and listeners want to know how decisions made and events that happen elsewhere will affect them here at home.  Here at home for you is your school, hence the school angle.workbook.gif

Today we have unprecedented access to news and information about events in our communities and around the world.  The Internet offers us local and regional daily newspapers, the latest wire service reports, magazine articles on every conceivable topic and informative websites that exist only online.  We can search the Internet by topic and find the latest information on any subject of interest to your fellow students, teachers and staff and members of our community.

We can find this information, decide that it should interest our listeners and simply rewrite it for broadcast as we practiced in our last lesson.  But as reporters we have a responsibility to do more.  We can call a credible source here at school or elsewhere and ask that source to "talk about" that news item as it relates to you here at your school and in your community.

What sorts of topics would make obvious school angles?  Some typical of those we find would be stories with teen angles, education angles or those about your community.  But they don't have to be that obvious.  We can find school connections in stories that appear unrelated at first glance.  Conversely, stories about your school, your fellow students, the teachers and staff or the community are not school angle stories.  A school angle story has relevance for your school.  Your job is to discover that connection and share it with your listeners.

On-Campus Sources

And whom do you talk to?  Some typical sources at school might be administrators, sponsors, counselors, social service staff, nurses, coaches, students in leadership roles (student government, club officers, etc.), teachers and secretaries.   Your least reliable sources would be students selected randomly.  We call that sort of interview vox populi, vox pop or man-on-the-street.  All they can give you is their uninformed opinion.  Avoid wasting time collecting these.