Many journalists got their start writing for or editing their high school or college newspapers. A position on the school paper allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of events that take place in your educational institution and your town. Part of creating a successful school paper involves choosing feature stories that touch the lives of both students and faculty.
People are always interested in reading about other people, particularly those who've done or achieved something of interest or people who are different from themselves. Plan a feature story around the arrival of a new teacher. Interview her to obtain interesting facts about her previous experience, teaching philosophy and memories from her own student days. Write a story about a student who's making a difference in the lives of others -- the boy who volunteers his mechanical skills, time and cash to repair the cars of needy families for free or the girl who works hard to raise money for a national charity that's personal to her.
You'll place your school paper on the map when you create a reputation for being the first to report on breaking news. Speak with school officials and educators to get the inside scoop on news that's not public knowledge yet. Plan a feature on the return of last year's football hero who's home on leave from the military, announce the promotion of your principal to the superintendent's position in the district or break the news about the cafeteria's new and improved menu selections the day before they become available.
Make a reputation for your school newspaper by delivering features on issues that are of interest to teens and college students. Prepare a multi-piece feature on the dangers of date rape. Report local and national statistics, personal stories and offer safety tips to girls that help them avoid becoming victims. Write and publish an extensive report on school bullying and how it affects the victims. Explain who is most likely to bully others and why.
Whether you live in a large or small town, plan features around local events and interests. Garner an interview with a popular, upcoming band that's bound for fame. Include photos and comments about how the group worked hard to achieve success. When an off-Broadway play comes to your town, take in the show and interview the cast and crew members. Supplement the feature article with comments from the drama club members who attended the show.
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