group standing and smiling in classroom

Training Young Reporters

Students Learn Secrets of a Successful Reporter

 Mike Morken, Valley News Live news anchor, visited fifth graders at Clara Barton Hawthorne Elementary to have a round-table discussion with the Gifted & Talented reading group as part of a critical thinking unit. During Morken’s visit, the class discussed questioning strategies and reporting stories, as well as how to look at a story from different perspectives.

“My thought when creating this unit was that reporters need to use questioning techniques. Our activity led the students to create questions to interview each other.  They discovered that it wasn’t as easy as they thought it would be,” said Anna Wuitschick, Gifted & Talented Teacher.

people sitting around table talkingPrior to the visit, the class watched a newscast and found stories that Morken had written and reported. The students created a list of questions that Morken could use as a guide during the discussion. The day of the visit he explained that with any interview, no matter how prepared you might be, you might only use a couple of your questions since the answers provided may take you somewhere you hadn’t planned.

During his visit, Morken explained the difference between a newscast and a newspaper, as well as how much news has changed since he started his career in journalism. Although news has changed significantly, the golden rule journalists have followed for years remains the same: the best way to write a story is to answer who, what, when, where, and how.

“Mr. Morken was blown away by the questions and how prepared the students were for the discussion,” said Wuitschick.


Morken’s lesson has helped turn their unit into a real world experience.