First Day Issue Ideas

Hi Everyone! I hope your summer is going well!

As several of you are about to go off to MIPA camp in a few days (Yay!) I thought I would post now about my ideas for the first day issue.

First, it will mostly be a revenue raising venture. I want to publish a business circular. More on this at the beginning of August when we have our business/advertising meetings. I’m not sure of the date, yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as possible. Everyone who possibly can will want to attend these meetings–both for the extra points AND because we are going to do a lot of our ad selling at this time.

But, we will have some content, too obviously. Since it is hard to focus on school stuff (nothing is really happening yet, people are hard to contact, etc.) I thought this year our first day issue could be a round up of the stories everyone was talking about this summer. I even have a concept: Your Summer Reading–what you may have missed over the summer.

Each package will have a SHORT (like 250-300 word) recap of the actual event and the rest of the spread will be more timely/local information. Infographics will be HUGE in these packages. The idea is to make them interesting and appealing to kids.

Each story will have a famous book title as a kicker. I have three I definitely want to do and a possible fourth, but I’m obviously open to other ideas for the fourth idea–or a fifth if more people want to work on the issue.

Topic 1: Pride and Prejudice 
This package will be about the Trayvon Martin case. Obviously, we won’t just rehash the case or try to argue one way or the other. Instead, we could focus on Michigan’s Stand Your Ground law. Yes, we have one. Maybe we could do pro/con stories on these types of laws or even racial profiling. We could also talk about just plain old teenager profiling.  Infographic ideas I have include a  map of other Stand Your Ground states or maybe a by-the-numbers type thing about profiling. We could do a poll, too, or even something about how African American teens feel they have to watch their behavior in public as opposed to how white  teens feel.

Topic 2: Tale of Two Cities
This one is about the Detroit Bankruptcy, with the idea of looking at Detroit in its hey-day vs. Detroit now and/or the problems with Detroit vs. positive things about Detroit. After the quick  summary story, we could do all infographics for this one. We could do a timeline of Detroit troubles (the race riots of the 1940s and 1960s, etc.). We could do quote collections about Detroit’s hey-day–interview teachers and administrators about positive things they remember or something. There are lots of possibilities.

Topic 3: Great Expectations
(This title is my favorite!) This one is about the royal birth–just a fun package. Again, after the summary story, we could all info graphics–a royal family tree/line of succession, other famous King Georges, just fun facts and tidbits.

Topic 4: Common Sense
This one is more serious and more timely/local. It has to do with the Common Core curriculum. Michigan adopted this curriculum several years ago, and teacher here in Rochester have been working on implementing it in our classes for the last few years. This  year in the spring (2014), the first new standardized tests were supposed to be given on this curriculum. The problem is, it is possible that the Michigan legislature will make it illegal for any state money to actually go toward implementing the Common Core, or the tests based on it. This is because the  representative from ROCHESTER added an amendment to the budget prohibiting this. So, anyway, the question is: What is RCS going to do? Are we going ahead with the curriculum? If so, how? Will the tests be given? If so, to whom and how? If we go ahead, where will RCS get the money for it? There are lots of questions. This is an important and serious story that will be less infographic and more interpretive/in-depth. Writers will have to interview administrators and even, if possible, Rep. McMillin.

So, why did you just read this? Because if you are at MIPA and have to work on a story idea of your own, you may want to choose one of these! Also, if you’re interested in working on one of these ideas even if you’re NOT going to MIPA, you can let me know and you can start doing your research now, if you want. Just get on Facebook (everyone should join the facebook group–any current Source member can add you) and start claiming stories/throwing out some ideas!

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