Important Sidekick reminders

For The Sidekick newspaper

Sidekick staff

Here’s a few reminders in regards to our responsibilities and duties as Sidekick staff members.

– All blogs must have hyperlinks to external websites. Think of these hyperlinks as ways to give additional information to your blog – background information, sidebars, etc. Link other news reports or videos. Don’t always just link a homepage (such as a CHS sports website) as it doesn’t add much to the blog. Read Thomas Hair’s blogs as he does an excellent job of using multiple, beneficial hyperlinks and he embeds them throughout his posts. Don’t simply throw the hyperlink in at the end. Not having a hyperlink results in losing 15 points from your blog grade.

– Stories must be posted by the calendar deadline and through all three levels of edits (section editor, EIC, Mr. Wofford). Editors cannot make any exceptions without the consent of Mr. Wofford. All major deadlines receive two grades – Oral/Written Communication (think of story quality, length, number of sources, edits made) and Critical Thinking/Problem Solving (deadline). If you are a day late posting your story, you receive an 80 for CT/PS. Two days late, a 60. After the third day, you get a 0.

– All photographers must post at least one of their own original (not adding to a pre-existing gallery) gallery every two weeks. These galleries must have at minimum of 8 photos with complete captions. Galleries must be posted by the 2nd, 4th and 6th Friday of each six weeks.

– All photos must have detailed captions – all people in photos including six people or less must be identified by full name and title. Captions need to answer the 5 W’s and an H.

– All home sporting events must be staffed by both a photographer and a writer. Sammy and Brian have created detailed calendars of all home sporting events. Photographer and writer must stay for the entire game. You cannot predict the game’s outcome so you must be there for the entirety. Photographers need to photograph both team’s roster for caption purposes and the staff writer must get postgame quotes from players and coaches. Photos and game story must be posted no later than the end of class the following day (or on Saturday for Friday night games).

Students must check their box each day in class. Students also need to be sure they check email, respond to text messages from other staff members and answer correspondence pertaining to Sidekick business.

All stories, regardless of if you expect them to go into print, must be saved in the To Be Placed folder once it is posted onto CSM.com. No exceptions.

– Video podcasts are improving. Be sure to have them saved by Thursday of each week as Wren must have them posted by the end of school on Friday to keep the content current. Make sure the filming looks as crisp as possible – we’ve had some segments where the tops of the reporters heads were cropped so if this is the case, re-film your segment.

– Remember, always look forward, not backwards when thinking of stories. We want to keep recaps to a minimum so try to find the future angle of stories and events to spin things ahead.

Get more creative with your leads. Be a storytelling – use anecdotes (yes, this includes sports), describe people’s emotions, take the reader to the place of the story. Hook them with something different – avoid starting leads with “Coppell High School….”, “The Coppell High School …. “, “The boys soccer team…”, “The CHS Band….”

– Continue to pay close attention to headlines. Headline rules are posted on this site so please be sure you are consistent with following these rules. Headlines do not have to be funny – only when appropriate. Remember, only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized in headlines. They are not titles; they are headlines so tie them to your story to hook the readers. Do not start headlines with CHS or Coppell.

Check your spelling and capitalization of proper nouns. For example, I’ve seen a lot of “Coppell high school” which is incorrect. I’ve seen “The cowboys beat the dragons” which is incorrect. I’ve see “today’s High School students…” which is also incorrect. These mistakes are often made in blogs so let’s pay close attention to these common mistakes.

We are adding a Corrections tab on our website and will run corrections in print as needed. We have done this in the past but we have to be more accountable for our mistakes so please be extremely thorough in your reporting.

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