December 1, 2021

The Lead is a weekly newsletter that provides resources and connections for student journalists in both college and high school. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox every Wednesday morning during the school year.

It’s almost the end of the semester, that frantic time between Thanksgiving and winter break where it feels like it should be finals week already but somehow there’s still new content to fit into the last few classes.

Next week will be the final Lead issue of the semester, and it’s time to share the work you’re proudest of from 2021. I’ve enjoyed this tradition since this newsletter started, and I’m always impressed with the work students share. (Here are examples from 2020, 2019 and 2018.)

Fill out this Google Form by Saturday, Dec. 4 to share work your publication is proud of, whether you or someone else created it. (Please don’t email me entries! Last year there were over 100. The form helps me maintain sanity when compiling them all.)

I’m not just looking for big investigations or major breaking news coverage. I also want to see your features, multimedia pieces, sports stories, designs and opinion pieces.

This is not a contest — I’ll include as many submissions as space allows, and I’m not judging the work samples. To allow as many students to share their work as possible, please only submit one piece per student journalist.

The changing ethics of student journalism

We just wrapped up a mini-series on ethics in student journalism. Catch up on the recent issues:

In response to the issue on ethics handbooks, two student journalists sent in examples of their newsrooms’ ethics policies.

Steven Vargas at the University of Southern California shared Annenberg Media’s Guide to Equitable Reporting and Newsroom Strategy — the newsroom’s “go-to guide that helps our journalists think ethically and critically when they are reporting,” he said.

Spencer Izen at Eric Hamber Secondary School (Vancouver, Canada) shared The Griffins’ Nest’s Reporter’s Manual and Editorial Policy Guide — a manual that complements SPJ and Canadian Association of Journalists’ guidelines, he said.

One story worth reading

Journalism internships’ low pay, temporary status and long hours reinforce the tenuous nature of industry jobs, Mark Coddington and Seth Lewis write for Nieman Lab. New research from Mirjam Gollmitzer at Université de Montréal finds that journalism internships often lack mentorship and training.

Instead of giving young journalists socialization and introductions into community norms and values, internships often teach interns to get used to precarious industry conditions. “The tacit assumption,” Gollmitzer writes, “is that workers, not employers, are tasked with making the internship a success.”

The sample size in this study was small, and many newsrooms do focus on mentoring and training their interns. But it’s a good reminder that there are steps current students and interns can take to make the most out of their internship: Set clear goals with your supervisor at the beginning of your internship. Ask them for feedback as your internship progresses. Seek out connections with employees across the newsroom. All of these steps will help you leave your internship with experience that will serve you in the future.

Opportunities and trainings

💌 Last week’s newsletter: How to create an ethics handbook for your student newsroom — and why you should

📣 I want to hear from you. What would you like to see in the newsletter? Have a cool project to share? Email

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Taylor Blatchford is a journalist at The Seattle Times who independently writes The Lead, a newsletter for student journalists. She can be reached at…
Taylor Blatchford

More News

Back to News