It seems that the “Wisconsin Idea” involves tough, fact-based journalism. At least that’s the conclusion we came to when we read that a partnership between the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Reporting has been granted $120,000 over three years to fund student-produced investigative journalism. The money is coming from the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment, which was established to “foster public engagement and advance the Wisconsin Idea.”
Read more about the program and the project here.
And go Badgers!
If you are a student working for a news organization, you can sign up for Profnet. That’s a service run by PR Newswire that operates as a sort of Linkedin connecting university, corporate and government experts across the country to journalists working on stories that needs their expertise. If you sign up as a journalist on Profnet, which is free, you can then post inquiries for types on info needed. Then Profnet sends out the request and experts who are interested in speaking to you about the story contact you. It can be so effective in getting you a source you might otherwise never find, that some reporters feel that they are cheating by using it.
1. Focus on answering one simple question
2. Answer it through the stories of the people at the heart of the problem.
Take a look at a terrific story in the New York Times May 7. In The Broken Promise of Choice, reporters Elizabeth Harris and Ford Fessenden needed to explain a ridiculously complex application process for New York City’s eighth graders who wanted to go to the city’s few good really good schools. The story answered this question: A decade after Mayor Michael Bloomberg allowed students throughout the city to choose their high schools are so few poor students in the best of those schools?
To take us slowly through this process, which could have been tedious, the reporters focus on one counselor and two students at one middle school in the Bronx. Their hopes and frustrations keep the reader tied into what could have been a tedious story about processes and statistics.