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Story Ideas

Today’s j-students are true backpack journalists– creating written features, blog posts, video packages, graphics, tweets, photographs, podcasts, word curdles, and Facebook apps all in a day’s work, on 24-hour deadline. Yet prior to publication or online posting, and at times before the backpack is pulled out, even the best student journalists need an idea about what stories to cover and a plan of attack about how they will bring them to light.

This page, updated periodically, aims to help college media staffers tackle both challenges. We’ll provide story ideas that can be localized for different audiences and offer suggestions- and when possible give examples- of unique ways to create and present that content.  Have an idea of your own?  Spot a standout student press story that has adaptation possibilities?  E-mail Dan.

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“Point, Click, and Cheat” Trends   (September 2009)

Need a classroom trend story?  It might be time for an updated cheat sheet.  As The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, it is possible that students do not “point, click, and cheat” in online classes as much as they do in classes that meet in person.

Surprisingly, in an academic arena in which physical interaction and ethical oversight are nil or next to none, according to a new study students are opting for honesty much more than we might think.  The study is just *screaming* to be fleshed out, however- it only covers a single Christian school and a few hundred students, a number of them non-traditional.

So what’s the down-low on the low or high roads favored by students at your school? Specifically, what’s the latest cheating rates or trends on campus?  Are there any particularly popular new media means through which students are attempting to get around the rules?  What do professors envision as the greatest threats to collegiate integrity in the coming millennium? What are the boldest or craziest stories to which students (maybe anonymously) are willing to confess related to the seven deadly sins of academic dishonesty?  As the study notes, these include “cheating (on tests), plagiarism, fabrication, obtaining an unfair advantage, aiding and abetting, falsification of records and official documents, and unauthorized access to computerized records.”

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