Virginia Assocation of Journalism Teachers & Advisers

Blitzing for Info

Two+TJ+Media+photographers+blitz+the+learning+cottages+for+content.
Two TJ Media photographers blitz the learning cottages for content.

Two TJ Media photographers blitz the learning cottages for content.

Two TJ Media photographers blitz the learning cottages for content.

Linda Mercer

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We’ve all missed a lot of school due to the winter weather, so it’s safe to say that our yearbooks are behind on coverage, and deadlines wait for no storm. Want to know how to get a lot of info fast? Take these tips from VAJTA founding member and newly inducted VHSL Hall of Famer, Linda Mercer.

If you need to get quotes for side bars, statistics to fill out a story, or person- in- the- halls comments, with or without on-the-spot pictures, here’s a way to get it done quickly.

Your editors or you write down exactly what is needed– comments on the new hall monitor rule, where and why did folks get their colorful tennis shoes, how many hours folks needed to do their term papers, reactions to prom decorations, whatever is needed to complete stories/pages.

Then list the sources you want the info to come from– each grade level, seniors only, sophomores only, boys and /or girls, ethnic mix, adults, etc.

Then specify how many quotes, figures, pictures you want gathered in what time frame. It works best with a very short time frame–usually one day–hence the term “Blitz.”

I did this with my yearbook staff which met during the lunch block, so they could easily reach the whole student body in one day.  We handed out the assignment sheets and  gave them a minimum of 3-5 sources per lunch section depending on what’s required to be gotten, allowing them their lunch time to eat. Maybe offer a small reward– candy works– to the one(s) who get all you ask for  fastest. 

Send them out with great hoopla and enthusiasm!

We were able to get what we needed to finish stories, do sidebars and info graphics, etc. in one day.  If nearly all the staff participates, this also frees the room for you to work with editors or others.

Be sure  to welcome them back with great hoopla, as well.  The kids enjoy the challenge and it gets what’s needed fast.

Linda Mercer, founding member of VAJTA, advised yearbook and newspaper in Halifax County  for 34 years. Mercer has won numerous awards, such as the VAJTA Thomas Jefferson Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Education, a CSPA Gold Key and the JEA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Linda Mercer, founding member of VAJTA, advised yearbook and newspaper in Halifax County for 35 years. Mercer has won numerous awards, such as the VAJTA Thomas Jefferson Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Education, a CSPA Gold Key and the JEA Lifetime Achievement Award.

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