I'm not sure exactly why it happened, but at some point during my college journalism career my fellow newspaper staffers and I became obsessed with Billy Crystal. We loved him so much we even put his picture up in the newsroom and decided he should be named an honorary editior-in-chief. Obviously the best way to make this official was to post it on Billy Crystal's Wikipedia page.
Crystal worked as editor-in-chief of The BG News from 1969-70.
It took almost two years for that "fact" to be taken down from the Wikipedia page.
This might be one of my favorite stories from college (wild and crazy days, I know) and I was more than happy to tell it this morning to some high school students who believed that Wikipedia was a legitimate research source. I'd like to think that by the end of the class they were persuaded otherwise.
After taking a week off from volunteering with 826 due to schedule conflicts, I was happy to be back at Golder College Prep this morning helping students with their stories. We started class by introducing a few new volunteers and having the students ask them interview questions. We did this our first week at Golder and in under a month just those introductory interview questions have really improved. Progress!
Then we talked a little bit about research. We handed out a Research-O-Matic worksheet and an awesome chart made by one of the volunteers about research sources for the students to use.
A big theme so far in my volunteer experience has been "Wow, I'm old". As in, some students didn't even know what kind of books they would use as sources if they had to. As in, "Back in my day, we couldn't even use the Internet for research!" As in, what happened to hours spent flipping through Encyclopedia pages?
But the Internet is their research avenue and we helped them see the pros and cons of different websites, blogs and message boards. After splitting up into four-person groups and talking about specific research ideas for each story, we headed into some one-on-one time.
So far, one-on-one time seems really beneficial. I had a chance to speak to students separately and figure out if any of their stories had red flags-Were they having trouble with interviews? Did the subject seem too broad? Were they losing focus?-before they continued their interviews and research.
Some of the stories I mentioned before are still going strong. One student is still trying to figure out what teachers do after school and on the weekends. Another is working hard to get to the bottom of the awkwardness on the CTA. And of course, the story about the candy store man who doesn't accept crumpled bills or pennies hasn't lost its momentum.
I'll be back at Golder next Tuesday morning and can't wait to see what the next round of the students' interviews brings.
Alaina is the digital content editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Chicago.
See more of Alaina's stories here.