Computers and the Internet Facilitate Newswriting

The DO-IT kids use their computers for many projects, but they stepped into the future of newswriting as they depended on their machines to gather data and write news articles for the DO-IT newsletter.

Upon arrival at the DO-IT Summer Program, each student was assigned a beat, or an area of focus, on which to write a story. Participants were given some background on the different newswriting styles and they practiced a short interview. With the basics under their belts, they were free to write an editorial column, a news article or a feature story.

Some of the students relied on lab notes, impromptu interviews, their memories or their own scribbles to provide the meat of the articles, but others chose to interview their subjects through the Internet. Electronic mail replaced the telephone for many of these reporters as they sent out written questions and waited for the responses. The students demonstrated that using electronic mail as an interviewing tool is cost and time efficient.

If electronic mail was useful for information gathering it really facilitated communications. DO-IT participants continue to correspond with fellow participants they met during the summer program and they also type up questions for mentors or staff members. The Internet is a popular DO-IT communications tool.