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:
- Aleszu Bajak describes how he designed a course around email newsletters.This post provides a clear rationale, helpful links to other sources, and a wealth of examples created by real 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:
- The Sift (for educators) or Get Smart About News (for non-educators) from the News Literacy Project
- Nieman Lab’s weekly newsletter
- NPR Education’s newsletter
- The New York Times newsletters — there are many!
- The Flip Side’s daily newsletter
And here are a few high school staffs producing newsletters you can follow to get ideas and inspiration from:
- El Estoque, Monta Vista High School
- U-High Midway, University of Chicago Laboratory High School
- Harker Aquila, The Harker School (scroll to bottom)
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.