Use Wikispaces for a staff manual

WikiPagesCreate a staff manual using Wikispaces.com.

When one of my veteran newspaper students needed to move on, I realized she was the only person with whom I had been working to upload editorial cartoons and illustrations.

This was not a new situation.  High school media students move on all the time, especially prized graduates who carry with them knowledge of the inner workings of their publications and media programs.

What was new was an idea that popped into my mind when I imagined starting fresh with the next student who would fill her particular niche as an artist. Call it laziness or divine inspiration, what you will, but following is what came of the moment.

For the final semester exam, staffers signed up to prepare a Wiki page for a skill used in the publications class.  I made a list off the top of my head, and was also open to any suggestions.  I encouraged students who had specialized in particular areas to create pages on those areas.

The initial sign-up list looked like the one below.  On the day of the final, students evaluated every page for usefulness.  Also below is a sample evaluation sheet.

When second semester begins, I will return evaluations and ask students to update their Wiki staff manual with the suggestions given on the final.  Moreover, the staff will have a working manual in its own language and with its own priorities.

Newspaper Skills

  • Editorial Policy
  • AP Style
  • Advertising
  • SNO Flow Cycles
  • Leads
  • Sample Evaluation Sheet
    Each student completes an evaluation regarding the page’s usefulness.

    Writing

  • Headlines
  • Cutlines
  • Photos
  • Fonts
  • Design

Software Skills

  • InDesign Page Layout
  • Photoshop
  • Posting a Web Story
  • Posting a Photo Gallery
  • Video Process
  • Social Media

Soft Skills (Employment)

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter
  • DECA (professional student organization)
  • Sales
  • Job Interview
  • Setting up Interviews with Sources

Michelle Harmon

Michelle Harmon is in her 13th year of teaching and advising the school newspaper at Borah High School in Boise, Idaho. She is state director of Idaho JEA and President of the Idaho Student Journalism Association.

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