Today I’m teaching Journalism 101

Today I volunteered to be part of SPLASH UNC, an educational program that gives local high school students a chance to take classes taught by UNC students one Saturday a semester.

I signed up to teach Journalism 101 and I had a lesson plan filled with an introduction to news values, tips for doing interviews and information about how to write the first four paragraphs of a story.

The students I’ve taught so far have been fabulous. Each of them have come with hopes and dreams for getting into journalism. One student wanted to be a writer for an outdoors publication, while one young woman wanted to be a sports announcer.

It feels a little silly, though, to be teaching anything journalism related when I have no idea what it’s going to look like in 10 years. I’m hopeful that the basics are the same — avoid anonymous sourcing like the plague and be transparent about your reporting efforts — but I know so many things will change. Is it worth students’ time to learn about press conferences? Why should they learn about news values as they relate to creating a front page?

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