The first session of my day was with Chuck Baldwin, the journalist in residence at the University of South Dakota. He took us through the basics of writing editorials in a very interesting process.
First, he’d shoot a dart at one of the students in the audience. Then, the student would read what was written on the dart, which was part of a made-up scenario about a campus issue. Then, we’d get sixty seconds to start to write a part of the editorial. And then we’d share, and repeat. Here were the scenarios:
- An audit has been conducted and $100,000 of student activity fees are missing
- The SGA discussed the missing money in a closed-door meeting
- No one will talk about it
- Student body presidential elections are coming up
- An open records request is being fought by the SGA and administrators
Overall, it was a really interesting exercise and one that I think could be used to break down editorial-writing. He also reinforced a really important point: your editorial shouldn’t try to accomplish lots of different things; just one or two. That is definitely something I should try and remember.