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margin of error (also called sampling error): In surveys, the range within which you can be confident of accuracy. A survey with a margin of error of 3 percent, for example, typically has a 95 percent chance of being accurate within 3 percent above or below the exact result. An allowance must be made in any survey for the possibility that the sample questioned may not be exactly like all other members of the population. The margin of error varies with the size of the sample population, and should be reported in every news story about a survey. News Reporting & Writing (Eighth Edition) by the Missouri Group. Copyright 2005. Reproduced by permission of Bedford/St. Martins.

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Michelle Elizondo
Journalism teacher and publications adviser
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Lesson Plans

Making Sure Everyone Has a Voice: Campaigning on Campus




Making Sure Everyone Has a Voice: Campaigning on Campus

Michelle Elizondo of Tom C. Clark High School in San Antonio.

Michelle Elizondo
Tom C. Clark High School
San Antonio

Title: Making Sure Everyone Has a Voice: Campaigning on Campus

State requirements fulfilled: TEKS 1C, 4D, 4E, 4G, 5B, 5E, 5F

Objective

  • The staff will understand the importance of covering diverse stories in the newspaper.
  • The staff will build their social/speaking skills with students/faculty members.

Activities

Summary

  • The students will produce a weeklong campaign, with the help of the faculty, which will focus on developing stories that students can relate too.
  • The students will create a letter to the faculty that explains the importance of diversity on a school newspaper as well as the goals of the campaign.
  • Each staff member will have to write down three questions to be reviewed by the newspaper teacher as will as the student editor. These questions should help encourage ideas and thoughts about incorporating diversity in the school newspaper. These questions should no only focus on race but other diverse issues.
  • The student editor will compile the top ten questions and create an easy-to-read handout for the student body to fill out and return to the newspaper room.

Pre-Campaign

  • The editors of the newspaper will meet with staff members to discuss a name for the campaign. This name will give students and faculty an understanding of the campaign’s goals. (i.e. Your Paper, Your Voice)
  • The editor-in-chief or co-editors must write a letter to the faculty, to be read in each English class, explaining the newspaper’s goal in wanting to cover more diverse stories.
    • The editors must explain the importance of diversity and trying to target diverse students in reading the publication.
    • The English teachers should read this letter to the students before the campaign takes into effect. English teachers were chosen because each student is required to take English before completing graduation requirements.
  • The staff should have a form to be filled out by each student. On this form, there will be a list of the top five stories in the previous issues that made the front page.
    • The directions will ask the students to circle the stories he/she has read. There will be an italicized question that will ask the student why he/she read that story. Under that question, will be another question that asks the student about future stories that may interest him/her.
    • Other questions on the form will be decided by the staff. The journalism teacher should require each staff member to write down his/her questions that will draw students from diverse backgrounds to share ideas for the newspaper. (i.e. “A student can ask do you feel the newspaper covers students from minority groups enough. If not, what types of stories would help the staff to reach this goal?”) The questions should just not focus on ethnicity but on all diverse issues such as gender, homosexuality, culture, and socioeconomic class.
  • We will ask the principal if each English teacher can allow the students to use the last 10-15 minutes of a class period to fill out the form.
  • The staff should promote the campaign by making posters, fliers, and announcements.

During the Campaign

  • Each English teacher will receive a packet to be given to each student. In the packet will be a letter explaining the campaign and the staffs’ goals for the year.
  • Each student will have time in class to write down ideas and suggestions to help ensure that the newspaper staff covers diversity.
  • The staff can set up a table in the cafeteria. The table should be decorated so that it’s visible among the students. There should be a suggestion box on the table that allows students to place their ideas and thoughts about the current publication’s coverage of different issues on campus.
  • There should also be a suggestion box outside of the classroom. There should be a poster board that explains the campaign and the importance of diversity at our school. Student can drop off their handout in the box.
  • The staff needs to communicate with the student body. Staff members can make T-shirts with their slogan on it. They should talk to their friends and teachers about the importance of diversifying the newspapers. The students should emphasize that the school newspaper should cover issues that students from different backgrounds can relate too.

Further Readings

  • Covering the Community: A Diversity Handbook for Media by Leigh Stephens Aldrich
  • The Poynter Institute, www.poynteronline.com



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