Sharing tips with Twain

I had the pleasure last week explaining to the Grade 3 and 4 students of Twain Sullivan Elementary school the methods I use as a reporter

I had the pleasure last week explaining to the Grade 3 and 4 students of Twain Sullivan Elementary school the methods I use as a reporter when researching information and interviewing people for Houston Today.

Their teacher, Mrs. Dewijn, explained that her class was working on a newspaper project that would feature articles, photos,and advertisements about historic First Nations crafts and tools, and interviews with employees in the natural resource industry.

My role was to demonstrate how, as a reporter, I develop my questions.

I explained that essentially there are three questions you should always remember to ask, “Why?”, “I don’t understand, could you please explain that to me?” and, “Are there any other comments you would like to add?”

The students also followed and understood the basic, “Who, what, where, when, why, and how” format.

But needed a little more guidance on the difference between a “personal” question and a “work related” question.

Mrs. Dewijin partnered the students and instructed them to come up with a list of questions to ask the experts they were going to interview in the natural resource industry.

As Mrs. Dewijin and I walked around, we discovered that most of their questions were related to the person, and not the industry itself. So we asked the kids to look at their questions again and mark a ‘P’ if it was a personal question, or an ‘I’ if the question was work related.

The purpose of this was to show the students that when asking questions, you have to remember what the focus of your article is about.

It was exciting to see how at the age of nine and 10, these students were curious and thought provoking when asking me questions about Houston Today.

They wanted to know why there are deadlines, how do I discern if someone is telling the truth, and if I was going to write about this experience in our local newspaper.

“Of course,” I told them. “This has been so fun getting to share with you all something I am so passionate about.”

I look forward to reading their completed “Twain Sullivan Newsroom” newspaper and hope that through this experience some of them will become interested in journalism as a career.