Our website is fully functional again, so you’ll start seeing more published articles in the next couple of days.
Last week, we sent an email about Special Projects. As a reminder, if you’d like to apply for a Special Project you can go here to find out what you need to do: http://tinyurl.com/JSRSpecialProject. To be considered, applications must be received by 5PM PDT on Wednesday, March 27.
Several students have asked us about our criteria for publication. You’d like to know how we make our decisions. The truth is that every decision is made independently, and that there is no set criteria. Moreover, you are all being judged in comparison to each other, so the threshold for publication is related to how well the group is doing as a whole. Because you are all doing so well, this makes things more challenging!
You can be rest assured, however, that a major objective is to publish work from a variety of different students. We hope that you are all published at least once before the end of the session. So, here are a few things that we think about when deciding which articles to print or put online:
Timeliness. Will the article still be “news” when it is published?
News can’t be stale by the time it’s published. Yes, the distance between deadline and publication means that JSR articles will never be as fresh as the articles in the other parts of the newspaper. Think about that when deciding your topics.
Huge national or international events won’t still be “news” after days or weeks. Because they are so well covered, events like this will already be well-known by the time we can publish articles about them. Some examples of stories like this include the HIV-cured baby in Mississippi, the Christopher Dorner manhunt, Sony’s announcement of the PS4, and the outcome of last week’s Miami Heat game.
Articles of local interest aren’t as time-constrained. If something hasn’t been reported in major media, then it will still be “news” when it’s reported, even if it’s old.
For example, we recently chose an article about a trip made by the LA Youth Orchestra to New York. Even though it had happened two weeks before publication, it was still “news” because it was unlikely that many readers would already know about it.
Perspective. Does the article cover the news with an interesting angle or point-of-view?
We try to publish students who have gone out of their way to provide perspective. The perspective can come from them (through the angle they choose), or it can come from the interviews they use.
These perspectives will hopefully add something to the story. Often, the perspectives may be the story itself.
Your use of perspective can make a national news item that is a few weeks old into a timely, interesting article. For example, we recently published an article about the administration’s opposition to Proposition 8. Even though this was old news, the student who wrote it got fresh interviews with a variety of students who gave their opinions about the administration’s stance. These opinions became a big part of the story, making it relevant.
Appeal. Will the article appeal to our audience?
Sometimes articles get a leg up because they seem like they’ll appeal to the people who read the JSR page.
For example, it made sense to publish an article about a local high school suicide this week, because many of our readers are local high schoolers who might have known the student or might otherwise have been impacted by his death. Likewise, we judged that our Korean-American readership might be interested in recent articles about students demanding Korean Studies at Yale and the K-pop group Infinite H.
Distinctiveness. Does the article stand out?
Every week we try to publish articles on a variety of different subjects.
Lately, we’ve published one locally significant human interest story, one science story, and one society/politics or entertainment story. That’s not a formula, and all types of articles are welcome! However, we won’t publish an issue with two of the same-type articles.
So far, the most common type of article we’ve had have been reports about academic competitions such as debate tournaments, science fairs and math olympiads. While we do welcome the local focus of these stories, they are not typically the most dynamic or colorful types of reports we receive. If you’ve only written articles like this, we suggest that you try something new.
You can still retain your local focus! Specifically, personal profiles with a local focus are great. We’ve recently published articles about a student who founded a Water Club at his school and a student who published a novel as a teenager. These types of articles stand out almost by default because they are in-depth profiles of unique people who have done interesting things.
Revisability. Can we prepare it for publication quickly without compromising the author’s voice or meaning?
This is crucial. Revisability is certainly why some students continue to get published on the website after they’ve been published in the paper.
As those of you who have been published have undoubtedly noticed, we don’t publish student writing “as-is.” Everything is revised to meet a professional standard. This is not how the previous director (Eric) did things, so students who have been in past sessions of JSR might not be used to it. We have a higher standard, however, and believe that having a higher standard is the key to having a prestigious, respected program.
Getting articles to a professional level takes time, skill and effort. All writing benefits from editing, and even the best student writing needs work. Some of you, however, require less editing than others. The easier it is to revise your work, the more likely you are to be published.
Revision is also a delicate process. When revising, we have to be careful not to add ideas that the original writers didn’t have. We have to make sure that we don’t betray each student’s unique voice and manner of expression, as well. In some instances, unfortunately, that is simply not possible.
We want as many students as possible to be published in the newspaper. However, we also feel that students who consistently submit high-quality material should be rewarded. So, students who meet our revisability standard will continue to have their work published online. If you notice that a student is being published over and over again, there’s a reason for that: that student has earned it.
Online, we currently publish about one article per day, Monday-Saturday. We will publish more articles as the overall quality of work rises.
The LA Board of Education is aiming to remove its president with new term limit rules… The CA State Assembly met with representatives of the unmanned drone industry to discuss business opportunities in the state… Republican senator Rand Paul is the newest member of his party to come out in favor of immigration reform… Next month, the Senate is expected to vote on gun control legislation that lacks an assault weapons ban… France’s Ministry of Culture is returning a group of paintings stolen by the Nazis… A rejected bailout plan in Cyprus is reignited Europe’s long-running debt crisis…
CNN is under fire for its sympathetic coverage of two convicted rapists… A decade after it began, Slate presents a photo gallery of faces from the Iraq War… Research suggests that hearing one side of a conversation is more distracting than hearing the whole thing… A resident of Topeka, Kansas is using paint and positivity to fight the city’s famously-bigoted Westboro Baptist Church… Problems over a new SimCity launch are being cited as a reason for the resignation of EA’s CEO…. Last week’s Lil’ Wayne health scare is increasing scrutiny of “sizzurp…”
WHAT’S NEW ON THE WEBSITE
Bees May Be the Key to Preventing HIV
by Ashiley Lee
Editorial: Students and Teachers Should “Friend” Each Other
by Jennifer Shin
Fair Provides Opportunities for Future Scientists
by Heejin Koo
Mulan Shines at Northwood High
by Jennifer Park
It’s St. Patrick’s Day
by William Chung
Korean Superstar Dies of Cancer
by Eunsoo Kim
Duchess Makes Another High Street Purchase
by Christina Ko
UC Student Shares Undocumented Struggle
by John Lim
University High Looks Forward to a New Athletic Facility
by Cathy Park
Local Youths Play Carnegie Hall
by Angela Chon
Administration Advocates for Prop. 8 Repeal
by Sally Oh
Book Eschews the Rules of Perfection
by Teresa Yoon
US Officials Reveal Covert N. Korea Trips
by Timothy Kang