Newsletter: Fall 2012

Fall workshop to be about coverage

Learn more about ways to make assignments, compile a source list and conduct thorough research

Planning, organizing and presenting excellent coverage will be the focus for the New England Scholastic Press Association’s Fall Workshop. Open to advisers, editors and staffers, the program will be Saturday, Nov. 10 from 2-4 at Boston University’s College of Communication.

    Among the topics the workshop will address are:

  • general principles to keep in mind when making assignments
  • scheduling for a year, an issue, a broadcast and online
  • coordinating coverage among scholastic media so as to make the most of each one
  • systems for beats and the pros and cons of beats
  • compiling and maintaining a list of news sources in school and in the school community
  • conducting interviews
  • techniques of assigning news and sports briefs, spot news, speaker stories, profiles of individuals, reviews, wrap-ups and photos.

There will also be opportunities to ask questions and explore particular areas of interest, along with sharing useful ideas and approaches from a variety of school settings. Tuition is $25 per person. The deadline for enrollment is Friday, Oct. 26.

How to sign up

On a sheet of paper or using the application in the print pdf of Volume 18, No. 1 of NESPA News, include your name, name of publication or production, your position on the publication or production, school name, school phone, school address, email and your home phone.
Send this information along with $25 tuition fee per person, payable to NESPA, to Helen F. Smith, NESPA executive director, Boston University, College of Communication, 640 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Mass. 02215 by Friday, Oct. 26.

Scheduling site visits

Site visits present opportunities to address particular areas of interest. After school or during a class period, site visits are a service this organization provides to members at no charge. Advisers and staffs can ask questions, discuss concerns and get suggestions on topics of special interest to improve their publications and production work.

Possibilities for emphasis:

    Topics of recent site visits have included:

  • staff organization
  • managing the business side
  • scheduling and motivation
  • news and feature fundamentals
  • design
  • sports writing
  • legal basics and ethical concerns
  • curriculum planning
  • editing and proofreading

An informal critique can also be part of the on site process.

How to arrange a visit

To arrange for a site visit, please contact Helen F. Smith, NESPA’s executive director, at or . or write Helen F. Smith, executive director, New England Scholastic Press Association, Boston University, College of Communication, 640 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Mass. 02215.

Special Fall Contest on localizing

Chose a topic, find a local angle and present it. That’s the challenge of the New England Scholastic Press Association’s Special Fall Contest. The key is to show how issues and events that affect people in New England, the United States or around the world affect people in your own school. Possibilities for topics range from AIDS awareness to eligibility requirements for athletes to food safety to state and local elections to user fees.

    Among the topics winners have written about—and that could still be great choices this fall are:

  • Cape Cod traffic tie-ups
  • Facebook and the college admissions process
  • a graduate on a professional sports team
  • local industry
  • members of the military coming home on leave
  • public protests
  • SAT scores and their significance
  • school lunches
  • sleep deprivation
  • swine flu
  • weird New England weather

Winners will be notified by April 1 and results will be announced at the annual spring conference. In addition, the winners are announced in the summer issue of NESPA News.

How to enter

Please send in the broadcast or published work with the entry form and fee by Friday, Jan. 11. Send in the web link to each online entry on the entry form below. Limit of three entries per medium. Each entry must have been broadcast or published between September 1 and December 31, 2012. Yearbook entries must have been created during this same period. Online entries must remain live on your site through May 3, 2013. Print media please send complete page, unmounted tear sheet on which entry appears. Tape a filled out copy of the application form (on page 2 of the newsletter PDF) to the upper right corner of the back of EACH entry. Broadcasters please send DVD or podcast. Please include $5 for postage and handling for each entry you want returned.

Entry fee: NONE for NESPA members in good standing as of May 4, 2012; $3 per entry for nonmembers.

Send entries to New England Scholastic Press Association, Helen F. Smith, executive director, Boston University, College of Communication, 640 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Mass. 02215.

National student video competition opens for entries

Students who create videos about election-related topics can win an award of up to $1,000 in value, according to information from the project coordinators. Engage in Democracy 2012 Student Journalism Challenge, a non-profit project supported by the Media Arts Institute, asks K-12 students in the United States and its territories to create two-minute videos about election topics for the chance to win an award valued at up to $1,000.

    Participating students will be tasked with sharing video stories from their communities that address one of six topics relevant to the 2012 presidential election:

  • Voter Turnout
  • Jobs and the Economy
  • Education Reform
  • Health Care
  • Energy and the Environment
  • Immigration

Entries will be by region and grade category. Three national winners will each receive an award worth up to $1,000 in value. Project leaders are seeking videos that are accurate, fair, interesting and informative. Students can submit their entries at The competition will close at midnight November 5, 2012. Winners will be announced December 21, 2012. To increase participation in their schools and communities, students will also have the opportunity to become Student Ambassadors as part of the project’s Student Ambassadors Program. The 10 Ambassadors from around the country who motivate the most students from their schools and community organizations to participate in the challenge may each receive an award worth up to $500 in value.

The project has garnered support from several high-profile organizations, including YouTube, the ABC News digital division, The Newseum, The Poynter Institute, The Harnisch Foundation, Adobe, Baruch College of The City University of New York, the Student Press Law Center and the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

Leaders and educators from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, the Media Arts Institute, Baruch College and the Alliance for Excellent Education founded the Engage in Democracy 2012 Student Journalism Challenge. Educators from the University of Oregon, Baruch College, the Media Arts Institute and student leaders from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication are administrating the project.

More information about the Engage in Democracy 2012 Student Journalism Challenge is available at

    NESPA dates to note

  • Friday, Oct. 26: Registration deadline for workshop on coverage.
  • Saturday, Nov. 10: Workshop on coverage from 2 -4 p.m. at College of Communication, Boston University.
  • Friday, Jan. 11: Special Fall Contest entries are due.
  • Friday, March 29: Annual publication and production contest deadline.
  • Friday, May 3: New England Scholastic Press Association’s 65th annual conference at Boston University
  • July 1, 2, 3 and 5: Course on How to Advise a Scholastic News Publication at Boston University.

For details and procedures on membership, workshop registration and contest entry forms, please download the Issue 1, Vol. 18.