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The first Habits section describes some characteristics that good journalists have. To do the job well requires being curious about the world and about the way things are and why, as well as taking the initiative and being persistent in finding, reporting and telling the story.
Habits 1 and Chapter 1 are closely linked, and they can easily be taught together.
1. Initiative and curiosity (Exercise WH1-4 in Interactive Workbook is a corresponding assignment.)
Ask students to practice taking initiative by seeking out story ideas. When they bring ideas to class, ask students to flesh out a story idea by answering questions like these:
a. What questions do you think a story about this topic should answer?
b. What is something you don’t know about this story’s topic, but would like to know?
c. What is something you do know about this story’s topic that you think other people would like to know?
d. What would make this story really helpful to the audience?
Ask students to practice curiosity. Provide a specific news story idea and ask students to brainstorm a list of questions about the topic. Encourage them to think of at least one question that begins with each of the traditional six questions—who, what, where, when, why and how.
Here are some story ideas for students to work with:
a. Localize a story such as this one, which describes Sodexo’s policies regarding health benefits for cafeteria workers.
b. Preview a speaker who is coming to campus. To find a speaker relevant to your students, this list of speakers’ bureaus compiled by David Meerman Scott might be helpful.
c. Examine how many college students have a job while they are full-time students compared to a generation ago. This AAUP article has some helpful charts that go back to 1970. This census.gov article has some more recent figures.
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