Covering graduation

Congratulations, Class of 2010!

One of the nice things my newspaper does is treat students with importance.

We have heavy coverage of high school sports, including naming all-county teams and athletes of the year.

And come graduation time, we have insane amounts of coverage in the newspaper and online.

This year, we had a graduation preview story and photo for each public and private high school. Then our photographers attended every single graduation ceremony and posted a photo slideshow from each.

We also had a reporter cover one of the graduation ceremonies because they nailed a big-name speaker: Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

All of our graduation coverage is highlighted on a special page online.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it is not fun to do this much coverage — especially since it is the same thing again and again and again.

The challenge, actually, is to come up with a story angle or photo that’s unique. It’s easy to fall into cliches with graduations.

I tried to put my all into my graduation story, especially on the writing side. I chose to write about the Key School for two reasons: 1. It is  a unique private school; and 2. It was the last school to graduate.

The students I interviewed gave me much of the same thoughts as students at other schools did — how their class is close-knit, how they’ll miss the school, etc. But in this case, I think the kids really meant it. I hope.

Certainly, most reporters and photographers would much rather be covering other stories than graduations. But I think it’s a nice thing we do and I hope the community appreciates it.

Where else are you going to find this kind of coverage? Not on TV, not on the radio, not in bigger newspapers and certainly not on blogs. Once again, this is what makes your local newspaper important.

2 thoughts on “Covering graduation

  1. I covered some graduations back when I got my start at my hometown paper. For whatever reason, I remember those stories more than almost anything I’ve written. I think a lot about the students I interviewed, wondering where they ended up, etc.
    But I also know those stories were of great interest to a lot of people, especially the schools and the families of the kids. Great job on the coverage!

  2. Thanks, Tim! You know, I sometimes think about the graduates, too. I especially wonder what’s happened to the community college graduates I’ve covered over the years. They always have interesting stories.

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