School Media Club. News writing and great stories the key

As you may know I have been working with a number of local schools to help with media skills. The School Media Club, as I call it, is developing with an increasing interest in blogging.

Blogging is not new, or course, and there are a number of excellent services which support bogging and news writing functionality, not least Primary Blogger and Webanywhere. But what we are offering is less to do with the technology and more to do with the the dynamics of the content producers (the children).

Once a school decides to run a school web site or a blog, the age old challenge kicks in – what to put on it. This is a significant challenge for any organisation, and most fail. In my opinion, the content on most school websites could do with improving. This is not the failing of the teachers, the children or the technology – it’s simply that writing engaging  web content requires some effort, and unless it’s linked to learning it simply won’t happen.

The School Media Club idea is that we implement a co-delivery of six afternoon sessions that cover some of the skills required to produce really engaging stories for the web.

1. What makes a great story.
2. Writing styles and structure
3. How the website works
4. Interviewing and note taking
5. Multimedia – photos, video, audio
6. Launching the online news page

The aim is to move the web space from being a dumping ground for random pieces of content to it becoming a showcase for children’s writing skills and experiences. The key to it is that servicing the website is not an isolated activity sucking resources, but is naturally integrated into the curriculum activities.

Another bonus benefit of showcasing really good writing skills is that the stories present a powerful insight into the life of the school. When parents are encouraged to look at the news pages they achieve a much more lively and engaging connection with the school. One primary school girl told me that her parents had seen the story she had written and were very proud of her.

So, I think there is not only an opportunity for learning and encouragement, but in improving school communication and visibility within the local community.  if you want more information

Other links to take note of

QuadBlogging Linking learning to a global audience

Marketing Cards for Schools   specialists in term cards and “well done” communications

Praise Pod  an innovative use of media for encouraging positive behaviour

Published by Mark

Mark Waddington is a former BBC broadcaster and producer. He now works for the Diocese of Leeds as Urban Mission Officer. If you would like to get in touch email