December 2, 2020

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.

Take what you need to finish the fall semester

We’re approaching the end of a long year, and it’s been especially long for student journalists. You’ve been living through a pandemic — a phrase that still feels bizarre to write, even nine months in. School as you knew it has changed completely, with online or socially distant classes. And on top of that, you’ve been reporting on the biggest news story in decades, plus a presidential election, plus a racial justice movement.

Are you tired? I know I am.

End-of-semester responsibilities and winter break beckon, so we’re keeping this issue concise. (We’ll talk more in an upcoming issue about how you can take the break you deserve.)

Need career resources?

Need a break from work?

  • Do one of Yoga With Adriene’s short YouTube videos. She’s been a constant virtual companion of mine over the past eight months.
  • Walk around the block without your phone.
  • Watch the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s live sea otter cam. (While writing this I happened to click in during an otter training session, which was delightful.)
  • Bake something. May I recommend this caramel pear pie recipe?
  • Plan a Zoom end-of-semester gathering for your staff and set a ground rule: no talking about news allowed.

Need inspiration?

Send me your best work

I want to see the work you’re proudest of from 2020! Collecting student journalists’ favorite projects has been illuminating and inspiring these past two years, and we’re continuing that in an especially newsy year. (Here are examples from 2019 and 2018.)

Fill out this Google Form by Friday, Dec. 11 to share work your publication is proud of, whether you or someone else created it. I’ll compile them for an end-of-semester newsletter issue.

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 journalist.


One tool we love

This isn’t a conventional journalism tool, but in a work-from-anywhere world, having a good workspace setup is more important than ever. The Mayo Clinic’s guide to office ergonomics is a reminder to check your desk and stop working slouched on the couch (hypothetically, of course — I would never do such a thing).

The New York Times’ Wirecutter has recommendations for setting up a workspace — I especially love the recommendation of including desk items that help you relax, like a plant or essential oil diffuser.

What’s your favorite tool that other student journalists should know about? Email me and I might feature it in a future issue.

One story worth reading

“Self-care has to go beyond your body and mind and into your digital spaces,” Samantha Ragland writes for Poynter. Ragland shares practical tips for warding off burnout by decluttering your digital spaces and taking time away from technology. It’s advice you’ve probably heard before, but it’s because it really does help.

Opportunities and trainings

💌 Most recent newsletter: Why an investigative team might be right for your student publication

📣 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…
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