Diary Week 11

Today was a productive shift, even though there was a shortage of story submissions.

Unfortunately, we were only able to publish one story this afternoon. Only one reporter is technically out in the field on Thursday afternoons, and his story fell through earlier this week. In addition, only one of Erica’s former students submitted a story. This story will not be complete until she talks with the final source tomorrow.

However, even though we were not able to publish Jacylyn’s story today, she came into the INC, and we edited her story together for about one hour. It was extremely helpful to have the opportunity to ask her direct questions about confusing parts, as well as making sure we were correctly citing the legislation. In future semesters, I think it would help to have content creators come in for short meetings with editors. Not having to waste time playing telephone and email tag would be a much more efficient use of everyone’s time. I will include what we have for Jaclyn’s story in the Links to Work section.

Keith was of great assistance today. The shift started out slow, so I had him complete the In the News. He chose timely stories that would interest people in our coverage area. He has been using the Intranet for help, as well as utilizing the Digg Reader. I complimented him on his news judgment but also suggested he use more diverse sources in future weeks.

He was also helpful in being a fact checker. Haley and Elly had edited the education story we published today. Dr. Lewis also spent a lot of time on it during the past few days. Keith was helpful in checking the number of schools in both Alachua County and Duval County. When he could not reach a person by phone, he took the time to find the information on the Internet. This was of great help to me as I conversed with other students in person and on the phone.

In addition, we went through Keith’s story that has remained in the reporters question section for several weeks. We were able to incorporate edits, as well as make note of what he needs to clarify with sources. Keith worked with other editors earlier this week, but I think he appreciated sitting down and going through the story line by line. As I continue to develop my coaching strategy, I focused on what is working in the story, as well as what his next steps need to be. He is planning on checking back with sources once the spring break period ends.

As a web platform, I think we have an incredible ability to make sure stories continue to be updated. Tripp told me how Logan is coming in tomorrow to discuss his tree cutting story, which involved a transgression that occurred the weekend of March 15 and 16. While the consequences are still being determined, I contacted Logan about making sure the story is updated before he goes on the air tomorrow. What he discusses tomorrow should not be a rehashing of what he wrote last week because this would be a disservice to our audience.

We must always ask ourselves, is this the most updated information we can provide to our audience?

We must always ask ourselves, is this the most updated information we can provide to our audience?

As I read through email chains and stories that have been re-submitted, it is aggravating how some of the same students have issues with story focus. There is one student whose story has been edited for several weeks now. She submitted a new draft today, and it still feels like her story goes in 500 different directions.

I would love to brainstorm with the other advanced editors for how we can encourage students to be mindful of this. It could be beneficial to host a short session one or two nights before the end of the semester. Any interested editing students can bring their stories to work with advanced editors. We could coordinate times or do this in conjunction with our Wednesday lecture period.

I enjoyed reading the blog post about Twitter concision. As a journalist and student, I continue to struggle with being wordy. When editing stories, I make a conscious effort to look for words that are superfluous. Matt asked Wade to post a story about the health of Florida counties. Once Wade posted the article, I sent out a tweet.

Short and sweet tweet

Short and sweet tweet

Ultimately, the major news is the unhealthiness of Union County, which is one of the core counties in our coverage area. I also wanted to acknowledge the report in the tweet. Those who want to know more can easily follow the link to the story where the report is hyperlinked.

I almost tweeted “Union County is Florida’s least healthy county.” However, Tripp pointed out how repeating county twice was unnecessary. A lot can be said in 140 characters, but it is useless to say the same thing twice.

I wrote a quick note for Rachel and the Friday crew to assist them with their editing duties. I hope these messages allow Friday to be as productive as possible, which translates into a solid foundation for the following week.

We cannot all be in the INC at once, so these updates allow other editors to catch up at the start of their shifts

We cannot all be in the INC at once, so these updates allow other editors to catch up at the start of their shifts

Advisory Council Note

Several advanced editors attended the advisory council meeting. I think we all made a solid case for why editing is a beneficial class that gives students a peak at how life will be in the real world.

Links to Work

More Teachers Teach Outside Of Expertise In Low-Performing Schools

I began hearing about this story on Tuesday night at the advisory council meeting. Haley said she worked on it for most of her shift. In addition, Dr. Lewis even spent time with the article. While we are in a class devoted to editing, it is a little unnerving that a story needs a couple days of editing before it can be published. Elly also left a note that she looked at the article. I spent a large part of my shift making sure the numbers were correct with the help of Keith. I went through the report and counted up the number of low performing schools, making sure there were nine low-performing schools in Alachua County, 30 in Hillsborough County and 27 in Duval County. In addition, I debated with Tripp and Wade about the lede of this story. While I know you are not a fan of anecdotal ledes, this teacher seemed like an effective entryway into the story. At first I was skeptical, but it also worked to incorporate a fantastic kicker quote from the Einstein School principal. We publish many stories pertaining to education, so it is refreshing for audiences to see a story with a slightly different style. Even though this story required a lot of effort by various editors before publication, the reporter continued to be engaged by remaining in contact. When I was originally editing the story, I noticed how one of the schools was labeled in various sources as Montessori school. Once I checked the Gmail, it was refreshing to see the reporter answered my question about this before I could even ask.

When reporters keep the editors updated, it makes our jobs much easier

When reporters keep the editors updated, it makes our jobs much easier

Foster Children Access To Driving Becomes Legislation Focus

3/27: Jaclyn came in and edited the story with me on Thursday afternoon. She is working on interviewing Ben Albritton. She will continue to update us on Thursday night/Friday morning. If contact by phone, please make sure to call twice (may be on “Do Not Disturb”) -CV

In a predominately rural area with limited public transportation, driving in North Central Florida tends to be seen as a necessity and not just a privilege.

However, for most youth in foster care, obtaining a drivers license is not an opportunity many have, said Jenn Petion, the director of community and government relations for Partnership for Strong Families. This agency provides child welfare and related services to 13 counties. At any time, there are about a total of 150 children in licensed foster care in North Central Florida.

Proposed legislation in both the Florida House and Senate is intended to change this by reducing some of the obstacles that prevent foster children from obtaining driver’s permits and licenses.

(Focus on what bills will address/how similar/funding going toward project)The Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee is currently reviewing House Bill 977, (Summary of what the bill does-link to summary/bill) after it received a favorable vote by the Healthy Families Subcommittee on Tuesday.  While Senate Bill 744 (Summary of what the bill does-link to summary/bill) is now in appropriations, after a favorable vote by the Banking and Insurance Committee, also on Tuesday.

Of the 930 15, 16 and 17-year-old foster children surveyed in 2013, only 88 had a learners permit, according to statistics from the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Of the foster children who were old enough to drive (16 and 17 year olds), only 20 of 687 had obtained a driver’s license. (link to PDF)

Concerns over potential liability to foster parents when the child drives a car owned by their foster parents and the cost of insurance are two current primary issues these teens face, Petion said.

Paul Crawford, the eighth judicial circuit director for the Guardian ad Litem program, said having a teenager on an insurance plan can be rather costly. The Guardian ad Litem is a network of court-appointed advocates who represent the interests of abused and neglected children.

Motor vehicle insurance is estimated to cost about $2,000, according to the Senate’s version of the bill.

Also, foster children are often moved from one area to another, which can make it difficult for students to get into school-offered driver’s education courses, Crawford said.

The legislation proposed by Sen. Nancy Detert in the Senate and Rep. Ben Albritton (Jaclyn going to try to talk with Ben-Why/working together?) in the House, attempts to address and remove these obstacles.

Both bills call for the Department of Children and Families to establish a statewide three-year pilot program that would pay the costs of driver education, licensure and motor vehicle insurance for those foster children who complete a driver’s education program. (Clarify with Ben)

The legislation would also require schools to give priority to foster children under DCF care when registering for driver’s education courses.

Albritton’s proposed House bill estimates cost at about $1.5 million, while the Senate bill seeks about $800,000 in funds.

Minors cannot purchase their own motor vehicle insurance unless a court order removes their disability of nonage. This disability places legal restrictions on those under the age of 18. If this order is granted, the minor gains the same rights and responsibilities as an adult, which would allow them to purchase insurance.

In bigger cities where public transportation is readily available for foster children to use to go school, extracurricular activities and work, this legislation might not mean as much, Petion said. However, she said in the more rural communities throughout North Central Florida, passing this legislation would be a great benefit.

Petion and Crawford said this legislation is about more than removing the barriers of liability and insurance costs.

“Our kids are normal kids,” Petion said. “They should be allowed to do normal teen activities and driving has become one of those things.”

After interacting with Jaclyn while she was Erica’s web producer during the first part of the semester, I was greatly impressed with her attention to detail. When she came into the INC today, she was professional and able to answer my various questions.

Upon glancing at her original submission, I was confused about what the legislation was aiming to do. There was also some legal jargon, such as Guardian ad Litem and the disability of nonage I knew we needed to clarify.

As we focus on concision, I also attempt to stay mindful of the redact the that rule. While the conjunction is sometimes needed, I know it is easy to insert the word without much thought. It is often helpful to use the “find” function to see where it is being used. I removed one that in the second paragraph, but I felt like most of the other uses were appropriate.

I hope Ben Albritton, the House bill’s sponsor, can provide some comments about reasons for supporting this bill, as well as some clarification about the three-year pilot program.

While this story will need final tweaks, I think our work today will make it easier for subsequent editors to publish this story tomorrow or on Monday.

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One thought on “Diary Week 11

  1. More Teachers Teach Outside Of Expertise In Low-Performing Schools
    Davis is a familiar case at Florida’s D and F schools, — right here it should be explained to me the reader what kind of schools these are. I should not have to wait for several graphs.

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