Email newsletters bring stories directly to readers

Last summer, Amanda Bright shared a richly-developed post here on letting students develop email newsletter skills. I read it at the time and filed it away for later, after a few months of not thinking about school. Of course, August rolled around, the normal chaos of the school year began, and I forgot about it.

Only recently did I re-discover it, and it’s exactly what I needed to jump start the discussion with my own students about building an email newsletter audience.

In addition to Bright’s post, here’s a rundown of a few other resources you might find helpful if you, too, are having that conversation with students:

  • Anne Friedman explains email newsletter etiquette. There are some great tips here, especially around the idea of needing to take a “value added” approach when writing for a newsletter audience.
  • Mark Jacob reflected on “8 reasons why email newsletters are a game-changer for local news” in 2020, and his points are still relevant today. Basically, we’re all overloaded with information, so newsletters offer readers a “curated” collection of information without it feeling manipulative (though, arguably, it still is).

Of course, the best strategy is to share a few example newsletters with students. I have a few favorites that appeal to my own interests, but here are a few that might be great examples for your students:

And here are a few high school staffs producing newsletters you can follow to get ideas and inspiration from:

Of course, the best strategy is to look to your own local or metro news outlets to see if they offer a newsletter your students might be able to mine for story ideas or use for inspiration.

    Michelle Balmeo

    Michelle Balmeo, MJE, is the adviser of The Whirlwind newsmagazine and online news publication at West Albany High School in Albany, Ore. She's done some print stuff, some video stuff, and some web stuff over the past 16 years as a student media adviser.

    Michelle Balmeo has 66 posts and counting. See all posts by Michelle Balmeo

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