Among the many workshops cherubs could attend during their time in Evanston was the high school newspaper critique. The critique was led by instructor John Kupetz, who taught this workshop twice during the program.
Prior to the workshop, students gave Kupetz copies of their school newspapers, and he looked at the content and style of each publication. He made comments and typed out 10 goals for each paper, which he returned to the students during the workshop.
“He has such a great knowledge of pointing out what things need to be improved and telling us exactly how we can do that,” Hannah Schoenbaum said.
During the session, students learned about having a staff editorial that relates to a prominent news story in each issue and reflects the voice of the publication as a whole rather than just one reporter. Kupetz also suggested that each newspaper profile a particular student in the features, arts and sports sections of every issue.
“Beyond John’s critiques, just seeing other people’s critiques and seeing their papers also taught me about my own paper and what I want for it,” Marc Chappelle said.
Kupetz suggested focusing on covering the school rather than national or global stories. He told students that photos should draw the attention of readers and inspire them to look at the attached story. He also said that headlines should stand out and be easily distinguishable.
In the workshop, students were able to talk about their publications with each other as well.
“I just really loved looking at everyone’s design elements, how they laid out their papers — the kind of content that they had,” Lila Bromberg said. “It was really helpful. A lot of people have editorials, and we don’t, and we really want to bring that in next year.”
At the beginning of the workshop, Kupetz gave the students a brief spelling test on commonly misspelled words. The purpose of this was to make sure students were familiar with AP style and reiterate the importance of fact-checking.
“[Kupetz] talked a lot about AP Style, which was surprising because my school doesn’t use AP Style,” Aleeza Schoenberg said.
Many said they will use much of Kupetz’s advice to improve their newspapers this coming school year.
“I’ll definitely be more alert to certain details after hearing John speak because he noted a lot of things that I never realized needed to be changed,” Schoenbaum said. “Overall, the quality will improve with some of the ideas that he gave us for me to bring back.”