As January comes to a close, our reviewers have already published over 1,200 Best of SNO stories since submissions opened in September. We hope you and your staff will keep them coming for the remainder of the school year – we can’t wait to see what number we reach by the end of May!
One things many of these published stories share is robust sourcing. It’s rare that we’ll publish a story with only one source; we’re also unlikely to publish one where the second or third source is just a simple reaction quote from someone who has little (or nothing) to do with the story. Be sure to plan out who it would be ideal to speak with to get the best information about the story.
Check out a few recent Best of SNO stories that exemplify excellent sourcing.
1-2-3, eyes on me by Celia Sadewasser and Shanza Sami, Iowa City West High School
This story begins with a link to a study, and although we see that a lot, this study stands out because it’s from 2023. Always work to include the most recent data possible. In addition, this story features interviews with a variety of students (age, gender, etc.), a teacher of a relevant subject, and a great expert source at a college to provide credible information.
50 years of hip-hop shapes Atlanta’s culture, community by Connie Erdozain and Molly Thompson, Midtown High School
The proper secondary source can still provide a plethora of information for your story. In this piece, the staff speaks with a reporter whose years of knowledge about the culture of the city help him provide a wealth of information about the subject. They also talk with rappers, an assistant professor of hip-hop studies, Atlanta’s director of cultural affairs, the choir director, and aspiring rappers in their student body.
Burlingame workers strike over speech suppression amid contract negotiations by Jake Rothstein, Burlingame High School
This is a great example of getting out and covering an event in the community in person. By going to the protest, the reporter was able to speak with four different sources on all sides of the issue and (as an added bonus) get some nice original photos of the event.
More than a cup of coffee: Rise in caffeinated drink consumption, advertisements negatively affects teenagers by Emily Paschall, Archer School for Girls
This story features many linked sources. It also features a combination of voices from the medical and business communities and voices of the students. In addition, the disclosure that the reporter had a previous family-based friendship with the business source is an excellent example of transparency. Don’t be afraid to engage with who you know (as long as you’re avoiding a conflict of interest), but do make sure to disclose those relationships to your reader.
Behind the Michelin star: Anonymity of Inspectors by Gracia Shao-Xue, Carlmont High School
Our biggest takeaway from this story is to never be afraid to ask! This reporter was able to get an interview with a Michelin restaurant inspector, but that likely started with a phone call to the Michelin company. The inclusion of a foodie in the student body and a restaurant employee only add to the depth of this story.