by Katy Gray
Colorado Mentor

I agree with Peggy’s post about the value of the modeling format, and think it would be an excellent way to teach students news law and ethics.

Early in the year all student reporters should become familiar with their publication’s editorial policy.  Reporters should not have to wing it when they are faced with issues.

For example, what should a reporter say or do if an important quote contains unacceptable language? Will it automatically be paraphrased?  Should they ask the interviewee to say it another way to get the direct quote?

Before sending reporters out, they could be given hypothetical situations and then role play the interviewer and interviewee.  [Students could be given readings about interviewing strategies to help them decide what to say and do before they role play.]

Situations key to student reporting could be handed out to pairs who would act out the interview situation in front of their classmates.

Now the teacher has created a teachable moment to pose further questions and suggestions without teaching law and ethics in a read-the-text and take-a-test way.

Role playing and modeling will not only teach basics but build confidence in beginning reporters.