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Journalism 101

Journalism 101

By SNO Sites
In Journalism 101, we interview journalism teachers, students and professionals in an effort to improve our knowledge of the medium by hearing the experiences of those who are teaching, practicing and producing it. JOU 101 is a podcast production of SNO Sites, hosted by Alex McNamee. Take your seat; class is now in session.
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Lesson 8: News Satire
This week, we take a look at satire journalism, including what separates a good idea from a bad one, the writing process, and how it must distinguish itself now from fake news. We interview Anna Larranaga, an editor of, a regional satire news site based in Minnesota. 
May 19, 2021
Lesson 7: Live Streaming
This week, we discuss live streaming high school sports and other extra curricular activities with Mark Koski, vice president of the NFHS Network which streamed a million live events this past year and continues to grow.
April 26, 2021
Lesson 6: Watergate Retrospective
This week, we ask retired journalism adviser Karl Grubaugh about his viral Twitter thread that reflected on a 1994 side project asking public figures who were involved in the Watergate scandal what America should learn from it. His Twitter thread begins here:
April 12, 2021
Lesson 5: Pandemic Journalism
This week, we turn the spotlight onto The Tower student publication at The Masters School (New York) and talk to journalism adviser Ellen Cowhey about their excellent, ongoing reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, Ivy Kaplan joins the show for an expert's review of The Tower's recent work.
March 29, 2021
Lesson 4: News Literacy
This week, we discuss a future in which news literacy is standardized education, why it's so important and what it would look like with Darragh Worland, vice president of creative services for the News Literacy Project and host of their podcast, "Is that a fact?" Read her op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle here:
March 15, 2021
Lesson 3: Polls and Surveys
This week, Kansas Scholastic Press Association executive director Eric Thomas explains what makes him nervous about student journalists trying to be pollsters to provide definite answers to big, indefinite questions and why his advice to publications preparing their own surveys is to drop everything and run away.
March 1, 2021
Lesson 2: Beginner Interviewing
This week, journalism curriculum expert Ivy Kaplan teaches us how to conduct an interview. She outlines a few easy, transferrable strategies to be better prepared and discusses things to look out for during your conversation. Then, we spotlight the student newspaper at Powell High School in Wyoming and interview its journalism adviser, Vin Cappiello.
February 15, 2021
Lesson 1: Forced Adaptability
Teaching is a hard job. The coronavirus pandemic has complicated it even more. How can you carry on when your situation is so fluid, when you don't know whether you'll be teaching class tomorrow in person, virtually or by some hybrid model in the middle. This week, we focus on how one teacher is making it work. Tommy Li is the journalism adviser of The Accolade student newspaper at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, California. He's not in a constant panic and hasn't pulled his hair out of his head. He talks about the challenges he and his students have faced, from tracking down sources virtually to toeing the line of politicization that has entered schools and the lessons they've learned about organizing a thriving publication virtually and keeping each other motivated from afar. It's all about being adaptable. The Accolade's website can be found at
February 1, 2021
"You can find them on the ground": Reporting on Vaping at High Schools
Alex calls on four student journalism superheroes raising the public awareness of vaping in their high schools. How do you tell your readers about the dangers of something with few facts and so many unknowns. Is the habit already out of control?  
January 31, 2019
Winning Awards with Brian Higgins
Brian Higgins, adviser at Liberty High School, talks to Alex about why the SNO Distinguished Sites program matters, how it sets the table for future success, using it in the classroom, and why there should be a "Friday Night Lights" for Texas journalism.
January 16, 2019
Recruiting and Marketing Your Journalism Class
Chris Grazier, journalism adviser at Cathedral Catholic High School, talks to Alex about the sensible, achievable ways he has recruited and marketed his journalism class, thus growing El Cid's publication staff. 
January 9, 2019
Localizing the "Issues" with The Kirkwood Call
Jack Rintoul, editor-in-chief of The Kirkwood Call, talks about the publication's "Issues issue," which localized a broad set of national topics and news, bringing it closer to home for their readers.
December 12, 2018
Scholarship Opportunity
Got summer plans? Catherine Cheney explains why high school juniors serious about journalism should consider the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, a week in D.C. with journalism nuts from every state in the U.S.
November 26, 2018
Music journalist Gary Graff
On location in Lansing, Mich., Alex talks to music journalist Gary Graff about why perspective and context is everything to a review, the most important details to dig for in a music feature, and a few of his favorite interview experiences ever.
November 8, 2018
Creepy and Unexplained
Student journalist America Moreno discusses the origins of her developing series of columns, titled "Creepy and Unexplained," and the first unsolved case she researched.
October 31, 2018
Media Law with Jonathan Peters
Jonathan Peters, a media law professor at the University of Georgia and press freedom correspondent for the Columbia Journalism Review, reviews student press rights, specifically in covering an election, anonymous sources, and more.
October 24, 2018
ProPublica reporter Jessica Huseman
National politics reporter Jessica Huseman calls to talk about covering elections — not candidates — to investigate the voter experience and the problems that keep them from the polls ... but she's covered campaigns, too, and has some advice for student journalists covering politics.
October 10, 2018
How to Start a Podcast
Alex reviews everything he's learned (so far) about starting a podcast, including finding a site to store it, using an editing software, recording remote interviews, writing scripts, and more.
October 3, 2018
The Daily Iowan on Covering Mollie Tibbetts
Editors for The Daily Iowan, the student newspaper of the University of Iowa, recount covering the Mollie Tibbetts case, staying relevant when national media moved in and more.
September 26, 2018
The New York Times Design Team
Three design team leads who worked on The New York Times' revamped desktop homepage discuss the research that went into it, prototyping, creating sections to incorporate a wider variety of stories, how they're using bylines, and more.
September 19, 2018
MediaWise reporter Allison Graves
MediaWise reporter Allison Graves calls in to talk about MediaWise's mission (3:43), Instagram (7:26), the climate of misinformation for teens (12:22), her favorite recent debunkings (30:40), and much more.
September 12, 2018
Finally Getting It with Emily Smith
Journalism adviser Emily Smith, of Pittsburg (Kan.) High School, calls the podcast to discuss the common struggles of operating a news site at full capacity (2:11), the hard-to-overlook "fear of presentation" (6:10), the intimidating undertaking it appears to be (9:27), how change happened (12:01), and much more.
September 5, 2018
Structuring a Newspaper Staff with Annabella Strathman
SNO Sites launches its new podcast by sitting down with former student newspaper editor Annabella Strathman for a discussion about successful staff structure, including what it looked like for her publication (7:52), what an "Other" page editor is (12:08), who answers to whom (14:50), the benefit of a beat reporting system (16:56), why separating print and online doesn't work (18:06), and what an editor-in-chief should be doing (20:44). Hosted by Alex McNamee. Music by Vibe Mountain via the YouTube Audio Library.
August 28, 2018