Talking about journalism and newspapers

Hands were raised and many questions were asked as Spooner Middle School fifth-graders talked with Bill Thornley of the “Spooner Advocate” and Larry Samson of the “Washburn County Register” about newspapers during the newspapermen’s visit on May 18.

SPOONER– “How long have you been doing newspapers?”

“What is your favorite story you have ever written?”

“Does going to college help you in your newspaper career?”

Those were some of the questions asked by Spooner Middle School fifth-graders as newspaper veterans Bill Thornley of the “Spooner Advocate” and Larry Samson of the “Washburn County Register” combined forces to help them in their assignment to “write a newspaper article.”

“Does taking notes or recording the interview help?”

“Is your job ever dangerous?”

“Who inspired you to work at the newspaper?”

More great questions! The students did their homework and will no doubt produce some great articles.

Samson, a “Register” reporter for 12 years, offered the “Who?, What?, Where? and Why?” article structure that every journalist must know.

Thornley, at the “Spooner Advocate” for 40 years, talked about interviewing people and taking photographs. He has been around long enough to have taken photos and written stories with some of the students’ parents!

Both talked about the history of their newspapers, as well as some local history from Spooner and Shell Lake and surrounding areas the papers cover like Minong, Barronett, Siren, Webster, and Birchwood.

Samson and Thornley both also talked about how small-town papers try a bit more than big dailies to provide positive news about the towns they cover. Lots of people, they admitted, like a little good news.

They stressed how attention to detail and dedication to doing a good job can turn being a journalist into a great and enjoyable career.

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