Area students jump into journalism at UWP

October 10, 2002

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2002_10_10.jpg Bernie Harris discussing selling ads

PLATTEVILLE - Jumping into journalism, photography and yearbook basics made a hit Wednesday at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville when about 130 high school students from eight school districts forsook their traditional classrooms to have hands-on experience at UWP Media Day.

Brodhead High School instructors David Thompson and Don Mueller brought five of their school newspaper editors along for UWP's Media Day, featuring sessions with various media representatives.

Thompson and Mueller said they wanted their students to enhance their skills for writing and publishing Brodhead's "The Signature" - a monthly 24-28-page school newspaper with event news, features on new teachers and students, entertainment, sports and an opinion page.

A popular publication, "The Signature," with paid advertising, goes to area nursing homes and the public library, where it sells for 25 cents a copy.

Thompson teaches Brodhead High School's journalism and desktop publishing class and is a newspaper adviser along with Mueller.

Jay Eastlick, of the Wisconsin State Journal, offered sessions on writing headlines and cutlines in Russell Hall, where most of the UWP Media Day events were held.

Students sat in available seats, hooked legs over chairs and sprawled on the floor as Eastlick outlined the basics of writing compelling headlines.

"A good headline draws readers into the story and encapsulates the story," he said. A headline writer should use the active rather than passive voice for readers to appreciate, he added.

"But accuracy is the key," said Eastlick. "The cutest, most clever headline will embarrass you if it's not accurate."

Brodhead senor Chris Nicholas, who attended Eastlick's session, does general cartooning for "The Signature" and also serves in advertising sales as well as general editor.

"I learned a lot from Mr. Eastlick," said Nicholas. "He was a good teacher. The class helped me freshen up on my writing."

UWP Media Day coordinator and assistant professor of communication technologies Arthur Ranney said the event served as "good exposure for the communications technology department and a networking opportunity for students, media professionals and advisers."

Brianna Burlage of Southwestern High School, who attended a photography session, thought the day was well worthwhile.

She and other students crowded into a session taught by Mark Hirsch, image editor of the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque.

Burlage, a senior, is on the Southwestern yearbook staff. "It was a good session. I learned a lot about lighting and film."

Hirsch enjoyed sharing his knowledge and experiences. "It was a great opportunity for students to know that journalism is both fun and informative." Hirsch brought two digital cameras for hands-on experience so students could practice and learn techniques with Hirsch's live edit.

Zach Heise, layout editor for Brodhead's school newspaper, said he learned a quality lesson in a lead writing session conducted by Bill Haupt, former publisher of the Lodi Enterprise.

"He taught us to get all the information in the first sentence," said Heise. "I can certainly take it back with me."

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