Real News, New Reads, and Getting Better at Getting Smart: this week on Fresh Powder

For-Real News

Cries of “fake news!” are pretty much commonplace these days. It’s not surprising; lately there actually is a lot of fake news out there. But it’s also a buzzword easily used to discredit legit news: call it fake, people stop listening. So when it happened to these student journalists, they refused to sit on their hands. They’re reporting on their school’s controversial sitting principal, and in a response to their work, a DOE rep obliquely referred to their reports as “fake news.” Uncool, not only because their sources are exhaustively confirmed and backed up, but because, as scholastic journalists, they’re already de-legitimized as “just kids.” But they’re not staying quiet about it, and they’re not going to quit reporting. And if there is something positive about this whole thing, it’s that these budding journalists are standing up for themselves, doing excellent work, and proving that they won’t be shouted down. And that’s rad.

Reading List

There’s a new theme emerging in YA literature, and it’s not vampires or magic. It’s Black Lives Matter. Forthcoming and newly released YA novels that focus on race and police brutality are riding a wave of popularity among teens. The topics are poignant, and kids are keyed in: the books are set in communities that represent a broader perspective than the white middle-class one so pervasive in YA lit. The overarching lesson baked into these novels? Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give, says to kids: “your voice matters.” And that’s an important message.

Learn Better

Learning is a weird thing: like, how come I can read a highlight a bunch of text, but then not find what I’m looking for when it comes time to write the paper? But then I can remember the name of the kid that picked on me when I was seven? There are a lot of reasons why we learn some things and not others (you know, emotional connection, having had to teach it, etc), but, once we start to understand some of those reasons, we can learn to learn better. And that’s not a bad deal, is it?

Metrics to Mission

Metrics are helpful: they allow a publication measure the success of their product. But they’re also super useful to fledgling papers looking to develop a mission, or even established ones looking for a refresh. Metrics can tell you a whole lot about who is looking at your work, and for how long. But it’s also important to consider the “why” behind the metrics. And that’s where you can start to get at your mission. If you’re just getting started, or if you’re re-calibrating, clicking back in, or simply maintaining a great product, here are some questions that will help you start thinking about metrics.

This also happened last week: Trump said Obama wiredtapped Trump Tower before the election, but that’s not a thing that happened: James Comey said so. So there’s that. Sesame Street is getting a new character: Julia the muppet has autism. Creators are working closely with autism advocacy orgs in hopes of building a character that is educational and one that will have a positive social impact, and that’s pretty cool. But if hard hitting news is what you’re looking for, look no further.