Skills of a Kid Reporter
What I've learned will serve me all my life.
Being a Kid Reporter for Scholastic is an amazing experience! It’s also a big responsibility. But don’t freak out—it’s a lot of fun, too. You go to interviews, write stories and blogs, and learn important journalistic skills that will serve you your whole life.
My favorite thing to do was interview interesting people like author Juanita Havill and NBA referee Violet Palmer, the first woman referee in professional basketball. For both interviews (and every other one I’ve done), I had to do a lot of research beforehand to figure out the questions I wanted to ask.
During the interview, you have to listen carefully so you can ask additional questions based on what you are hearing. Your story is much better if you listen and learn while conducting your interview. I also had to prepare equipment for interviews, some of which were done in person and some over the phone. All of them were taped so I could get accurate quotes for my stories. (Remember to always ask the interviewee if it is OK to use a recorder.)
But interviews are just the beginning of assignments. After the interviews, I had to write the stories. That means deciding what parts of the interviews I want to quote and how to structure the story so that it has a good beginning, middle, and end. I also have to choose which pictures to send to my editor. In the case of my interview with Havill, I also wrote a review of her book, Grow: a Novel in Verse.
I like conducting interviews because it gives me a chance to meet people that I would otherwise never meet and to ask them questions that puzzle me. You can really get to know some interesting people, especially if you listen to what they are saying. How cool is that?
Talking about cool, one thing that happened after my story on Violet Palmer was that she mailed me an autographed picture of herself to my school. Now, as Kid Reporters, we are not allowed to ask for autographs. It’s unprofessional and in some cases, like on a red carpet or in a locker room, it’s not even allowed! But Ms. Palmer did this on her own. I didn't know about it in advance.
My vice principal gave me the envelope in front of everyone at school. I was so proud! To this day, her picture is framed and hanging on my bedroom wall. By interviewing people for Scholastic, I have improved my communication and writing skills, big time.
You can be a Kid Reporter, too. The application process is under way! Click HERE for information on how to submit your entry. And do it NOW! Deadline to mail in your entry is October 12.
PHOTO: Kid Reporter Maya Williams with an autographed picture of NBA referee Violet Palmer. (Photo Courtesy Maya Williams)