Magazine article The Masthead

NCEW Links with College Editors

Magazine article The Masthead

NCEW Links with College Editors

Article excerpt

Twenty editors of college newspapers and a six-member, NCEW-recruited "faculty" met at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism June 2. The objective: to critique and discuss college editorials and editorial pages.

The Manhattan gathering was part of a weeklong workshop for the student editors, the second annual offering of the Columbia-sponsored affair and the first time for NCEW to be involved.

As a Columbia j-school grad and current NCEW vice president, I noticed a write-up and photo of last year's inaugural workshop in an alumni newsletter and called to find out more. It turned out the program did not have an element on editorial writing and commentary pages.

Since NCEW has long been interested in educating student journalists in critical writing, I proposed collaboration. Columbia welcomed it.

With support from the NCEW board and NCEW Foundation, the program came together. It centered around two-hour critique sessions in which students commented in detail on each other's pages, which were exchanged in advance. Serving as moderators for each group were NCEW members Maura Casey, Phineas Fiske, John Taylor, and Bernard Stein. Also volunteering was Gayle Williams, not yet an NCEW member.

The enthusiasm and savvy of the students impressed the moderators. So did their sense of commitment to their commentary sections and their engagement in critiques.

Discussion topics are familiar to any NCEW critique veteran: layout and design, writing style and editorial tone, buried leads, balancing research and "news-retelling," handling controversial subjects, use of letters, and commentaries. …

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