Also likely the most entertaining, since questions posed by the reporters included everything from “Do you have kids?” to “Can I try on your hat?”
Higdon assisted The Telegram in training some mini-journalists last week: the 27 students in Penny Pinsent’s Grade 2 class at St. Mary’s Elementary School in St. John’s, who are learning about newspapers and preparing to create their own, The Cuddles Express (Cuddles is the school’s polar bear mascot).
Earlier in the week, The Telegram’s Newspapers in Education co-ordinator Carol Wadden, reader sales and marketing director Leo Gosse, and reporter Tara Bradbury visited the class, to teach them about the different jobs at a newspaper and what they entailed. Next, the children chose which ones they’d like to do — reporter and photographer, for the most part, as well as press operator — and wrote job application letters to managing editor Steve Bartlett.
“I think the best part of the job would be going to all the games and writing about them,” wrote one little guy, looking to be hired as a sports reporter. “I think the hardest part would be staying neutral.”
The children also listed their experience when it comes to the jobs.
“I once took a picture of my sister in mid-air,” wrote one of the eight-year-olds, who wanted to be a photographer.
Hoping to be hired as a reporter, another told Bartlett, “Well, I already wrote a book.”
On Friday, Bartlett visited the class to give them some tips when it comes to writing the news and crafting headlines, and let them know he was hiring them all on a freelance basis. He gave them their first assignment: one paragraph, accompanied by a photo if they were so inclined, reporting their biggest news at the moment.
To help prepare them for news reporting, Bradbury gave the kids instructions on how to use the necessary equipment (cameras, tripods, digital recorders and microphones).
Outfitted with notebooks and their own personal press passes, the class welcomed Higdon to give them the details about a newsworthy police case requiring the public’s assistance.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the media,” Higdon began, “Thank-you for being here. We are asking the public’s help in locating a missing princess, Annabelle, who was last seen outside the royal castle at midnight.”
The kids put their interviewing skills to work, making sure to nail down the five W's — who, what, when, where, and why. What was she wearing? A ballgown. Do police have any evidence? A glass slipper and some magic beans. Are there any suspects? Police would like to speak to a wolf-like character seen nearby. Can we play with your walkie-talkie? Not at this time.
Once the new journalists file their first assignments, The Telegram will publish them — stay tuned.