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dependent variable : See variable. News Reporting & Writing (Eighth Edition) by the Missouri Group. Copyright 2005. Reproduced by permission of Bedford/St. Martins.

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Teaching Tips

We are collecting tips from high school newspaper advisers nationwide on how to run student publications and deal with the issues from administrators, students and parents.

10 New Year’s resolutions for student journalists

By Bob Greenman

  1. We resolve not to let color and design overpower or obscure text in any way. When text is printed on top of photos and illustrations, reading it is usually a pain and the articles skipped by readers. Our design people resolve not to go overboard and to remember that they are there to enhance the newspaper page and complement the text. White type on a red background and black type on a green background may seem creative, but they discourage readers rather than delight them.
  2. We resolve never to use brackets in newswriting unless we are quoting from a document. We will avoid brackets by paraphrasing quotes and using partial quotes, sometimes of only one word. News articles are not term papers.
  3. We resolve not to use clichéd, uninformative and trite quotes from teachers, coaches or administrators, but to ask questions that produce substantive and meaningful responses.
  4. We resolve to avoid sentences that open with "there is," "there are" and "there was," because they are not only wasted words, but words that waste the reader's time and hurt good writing style.
  5. We resolve not to begin news stories with a date (On January 5 ….) unless the date itself plays a prominent part in the article. The date can usually go in the second or third paragraph.
  6. We resolve to be fanatical about not editorializing in news and feature articles. "Mr. Smith is a devoted teacher." No. "The tragic crash killed three students." No. "The talented pianist played the beautiful "Moonlight Sonata." No, twice over.
  7. We resolve to cover our student government and hold its officers accountable so that their work enhances student life and students' rights, and their positions don't just look good on their college applications. We will attend and report on student government meetings throughout the school year (which we have a right to do); be present when election votes are counted; and verify election results.
  8. We resolve to liven up our paper with unusual stories, fascinating interviews and writing that makes readers want to read more and more.
  9. We resolve to bring about change in our school through the news and features articles we publish and through our editorials.
  10. We resolve to make emotion and human drama an integral part of our newspaper's content, in news, features, columns, editorials and photos.