Thursday, October 23, 2008

First Class

Great class everyone!

Thanks for your input and comments during discussion. We really delved into issues of ownership of the news, neighborhoods, civic engagement, the purpose of journalism, media consolidation, and shifts in print journalism. If you are still looking for more information on citizen journalism I encourage you to check out the readings in the right hand column. For the remaining three classes we will have a lesson and a workshop portion of the class. During the workshop you will bring what you have written and get feedback from other citizen journalists in the class.

Looking forward to see your stories next Wednesday!

Writing Assignment
(Some people had some questions so I wanted to clarify)

--You will be writing an article for the Twin Cities Daily Planet. The length depends on the subject and the type of reporting you will be doing. Unless you are one of our neighborhood/community beat reporters (you know who you are), a good place to start is about 600-800 words.

--Depending on your article you should have attended an event, and/or researched your subject, and/or conducted interviews. You should have direct quotes that you can use in your article.

--At the bottom of your article list your sources along with their email addressed or phone numbers. This is standard procedure in all journalism so that editors can follow up to fact check or expand the article if needed.

--If you need examples of articles go to and take some time surfing the website.

--Please take this week to get started on an article for the Twin Cities Daily Planet and complete a first draft. IF YOU ONLY DO ONE ARTICLE FOR THIS CLASS, THAT’s OKAY. However, we will continue to improve it and work on strengthening that article throughout each workshop.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tips for Interviewing

by Mary Turck (rev. 3/18/08)

• Research the subject. Know what you are talking about and what you are asking about. Unless you are interviewing a genuine expert, you should know more about the subject than the person you are interviewing. (examples: Rock Tenn, North End school)

• Know your interviewee. Get the name spelled right, know the position that s/he holds, know why they can contribute to the story.

• Be friendly. Yes—even if you are interviewing the "other side.

• Be polite. Always. No exceptions.

• Have a prepared list of questions.

• Don't ask the questions on your list. The list is for you, to remind you of what you want to know. Once you get started talking to someone, establish a conversational tone and get them comfortable talking to you. Use a question from your list to guide the conversation, but make it a conversation, not an interrogation.

• On the record is on the record. Be careful about going on and off the record. If you agree that something is off the record, then you set up problems in telling the difference.

• Say who you are and what the interview is for.