In the thick of things

Ambika Shaligram
Friday, 22 September 2017

Suzanne McCabe, editor, Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, mentors kids from across the world and gives them a taste of what it is like to be reporting on field

Three Indian kids — Ananyaa Chopra, 13, Rohan Devulapalli, 12, and Roopkatha Roy, 13 — have been selected for the 2017-18 Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. We speak to the kids and Suzanne McCabe, editor of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps to learn more about the programme

Tell us about the selection process for the Kid Reporters.
Students from around the world mail in applications annually to apply to join the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. This year, we received more than 400 applications, a record-breaking number of entries. Applicants must be between the ages of 10 and 14. They are required to submit a news report about their local community, two ideas for future stories, and a personal essay explaining why they would like to be a Kid Reporter.
Does the programme run for one academic year? 
The Scholastic News Kids Press Corps runs for one calendar year, with Kid Reporters joining at the end of summer, around the back-to-school season. We’ll open our call for applications for the 2018-19 year in spring.
Do you have an orientation programme for the students, to tell them what they are expected to do in a newsroom environment? 
We have an onboarding process for our new Kid Reporters to welcome them to the programme and help them prepare for their new roles as junior journalists.

In addition to receiving extensive materials outlining how to write news articles and the ins and outs of the programme, I work with each new Kid Reporter one-on-one to help them develop ideas, craft their stories, and secure interviews.
What newsroom ethics do you want the kids to follow when they are out on the field? 
The important thing to remember is that these Kid Reporters are journalists, just like any other news professional. When they’re working on an assignment, Scholastic News Kid Reporters understand the importance of being honest, accurate, respectful, and unbiased. We’re extremely proud of our entire Press Corps and their ability to embody these standards in everything they do. I think this is one of the many reasons that several of our Kid Reporters have gone on to successful careers in journalism.

Are the kids assigned to beats depending on their interests?
We encourage all Kid Reporters to explore their interests and find stories in their communities that are interesting and relevant to other students their age. In an effort to make this experience as authentic as possible, Kid Reporters can pitch me their story ideas at any time. I also assign them stories if I see something that I think they would be particularly interested in or is happening in their area.
Do the Kid Reporters tag along with experienced reporter? How much of their text is edited or rewritten?
Scholastic News Kid Reporters are extremely independent — they’re researching story ideas, conducting interviews, and writing stories on their own, always with adult supervision.

Throughout the year, I also work closely with Kid Reporters’ families to not only make sure that they can cover stories but also to edit their writing and ensure that the content is on grade level for our young audiences.

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