Finishing our GEO reporting

After talking, as we did March 1, with members of the JOUR 220 News Editing class, your assignment for Tuesday, March 6, is to do a final expansion, revision and focusing of your “color sidebars”  about the ongoing strike by the Graduate Employees Organization.

You’re free to choose whatever approach seems to work best — talking to students, strikers, faculty members, others. Look for human tales about how the strike or, perhaps even more telling, the situation that led to the strike impacts the individuals you talk to. Be sure you thoroughly understand the background of the strike before beginning your interviews and observations, then look to find one or more intriguing stories of human impact that will tell your audience something other than what they expected to hear.

This sign was posted on the door of Room 4, just down the hall from our classroom, where the man with the baby carriage was trying to get in during class Thursday.

Take and post still photos, record and edit audio, and if you have the ability and inclination, include video (probably by embedding something from YouTube or Vimeo) in the stories that you post or revise in the GEO strike category of this site before 10 a.m. Thursday, March 1. Your phone is probably the only tool you need. Just be sure to hold it steady and quietly and make sure the speaker is as close to it as possible.

Don’t try to cover the entire issue of the strike. Your job will be to do a color sidebar that will accompany the main strike story. It can focus on side issues, even such things as how the protest is organized. After you complete your story, be sure to check what your classmates did and what Daily Illini, News-Gazette, WCIA, WAND, WICD, WILL and other local reporters did with their coverage. Compare your approach to that coverage. One way to glean more background might be to do further exploration of the DMI data mentioned in class last week.

The stories posted last week were a really good start. In class, we have discussed some of the additional material that might be needed for each story and explained some writing issues with each. Your job is to augment and focus your reporting on the key issues that emerged. This should be more than just “man on the street” opinions. Avoid simply being a platform for already-heard slogans and puffery. You can take a “hard” approach, looking at the strike’s impact, or a “soft” approach. But you must find something interesting and not merely duplicative of what we’ve already heard or read about.


Meanwhile, don’t lose track of our Profile pieces or our Story proposals, which we will continue to work on. We’re just taking a brief intermission to take advantage of a breaking news situation.

Make sure you also log your attendance every Tuesday and Thursday and verify that the attendance log is accurate and that you didn’t forget some days. If you have problems with your username or password or notice that you missed logging in some day, let the instructor know.

Also be sure to review the Tips pages and Past front pages, to which new items are added all the time. There aren’t quizzes and other artificial inducements to force you to read them, but you may find them helpful as you do the hands-on practical exercises of the class.


Blake 8:45 a.m. March 6
Liam 12:46 a.m. March 6
Julie 2:28 p.m. March 4
Nathan 2:04 a.m. March 1
Emma 9:23 a.m. March 1
Kate 9:39 p.m. March 6
Mariah 9:35 p.m. Feb. 28