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Introducing Student Media


The Minnesota State High School League is proud to announce an exciting new educational program called Student Media. The program provides opportunities for students to become reporters for their schools, allowing them to learn about the reporting, writing and editing process and giving them insight into the career of a working journalist.

Working under the mentorship of English/journalism teachers, students will plan and produce stories about their school's activities. These can involve sports as well as non-sports activities. Stories can include preseason previews, game stories, feature stories about coaches or students-athletes, stories about schools concerts, plays or anything else that takes place in the school community. Photography is also included as part of the program. Each school in Minnesota has its own page on the MSHSL site (www. mshsl.org), and the student-produced stories will appear on their school's page.

Students in grades 9 through 12 will be active in the program, with experienced older students mentoring younger students each year. The MSHSL will provide interested schools with MSHSL media credentials, which will allow free access to events for student reporters who are on assignment. Stories produced through the Student Media program can be made available to local newspapers and community websites, giving the students and their work even more exposure.

As part of the MSHSL's mission to make www.mshsl.org the "go to" website for all information about high school sports in Minnesota, members of the Student SID program can play a vital role by helping their coaches in posting schedules, rosters, scores, statistics, etc., on their school's page on mshsl.org.

The Student Media program is under the direction of MSHSL Media Specialist John Millea, who joined the MSHSL staff in March 2010 after a lengthy career as a newspaper editor, reporter and columnist in Iowa, Arizona and Minnesota. Millea, who spent nearly 20 years at the Minneapolis Star Tribune before joining the MSHSL, also has had his work appear in Newsweek magazine, the New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Boston Herald, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sporting News, Baseball America, Scholastic Coach, Family Fun and many other publications. He has covered the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball, along with college, high school and youth athletics.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is it?
The program provides opportunities for students to become reporters for their schools. Educationally, it allows students to learn about the reporting, writing and editing process and give them insight into the career of a working journalist.
How does it work?
Working under the mentorship of English/journalism teachers, students plan and produce stories about their school's activities. These can involve sports as well as non-sports activities. Stories can include preseason previews, game stories, feature stories about coaches or students-athletes, stories about schools concerts, plays or anything else that takes place in the school. The stories will be posted on each school's home page on mshsl.org. Photographs also can be posted.
What are the goals and expectations?
We would like to have students from every high school in Minnesota take part in the program. Ideally, students in grades 9 through 12 will be active in the program, with experienced older students mentoring younger students each year.
Will these students be official "reporters?"
We will provide the students with MSHSL media credentials, which will allow them free access to events. Each school will be given a limited number of credentials, and school administrators and staff will help ensure that the credentials are used only by students who are part of the program and working on stories during events.
What else can these students do?
The MSHSL is working to make mshsl.org the "go to" website for all information about high school sports in Minnesota. Members of the Student Media program can play a vital role in this mission by helping their coaches in posting schedules, rosters, scores, statistics, etc., on their school's page on mshsl.org.
Are there other opportunities for students?
Stories produced through the Student Media program can be made available to local newspapers and community websites, giving the students and their work even more exposure.
What about video?
We are exploring the capability of having students post videos on YouTube, with links to those videos on their school's page on mshsl.org. The video topics could be similar to the stories written by students, and having video capability would help an even wider circle of students be part of the program.
Will course credit be given to these students?
This program is aligned with state graduation standards. Teachers have suggested that the program might work well as an independent study program for some students.
Can this help with college applications?
Yes, we believe that being a part of this program will be a strong addition to college applications.
Join Us On Facebook
We have a Facebook page (MSHSL Student Media) devoted exclusively to the students and teachers involved in the Student Media program. This provides a "community gathering place" for students to communicate with each other, post stories, photos and videos, share ideas and feedback, and maintain regular communications with John Millea.

How to Produce a Great Story
1) The Idea
What is this article about? Is it a game story? A season preview? A profile of a coach or athlete? Have a specific focus.
2) The Plan
Decide who should be interviewed. Think about the focus of the story and draw up a list of questions. Don't be rushed; think about the story and what's important to the story. This will help you develop questions. Begin to accumulate the pertinent facts that will be crucial to your story.
3) The Interviews
If possible, find a quiet place and time to conduct interviews. Using a tape/digital recorder ensures quotes will be accurate. Be relaxed, ask questions and listen closely to the answers; the answers may lead to questions you had not previously thought of. It's often a good idea to end an interview with two questions of your own: Is there anything I haven't touched on that's important? Who else could I talk to for this story?
4) The Writing
Gather and review your notes, your quotes from interviews and most importantly, the facts. Make sure the key information who, what, where, when and why is at the top of your story. Avoid long paragraphs; any paragraph with more than three sentences is probably too long. Avoid lengthy, confusing sentences, too. Strive to make the story fun and easy to read. Don't use quotes to tell the story; use quotes to add life to the story.
5) The Editing
When you have finished writing, read the story two or three times. Check for typos, grammatical mistakes and factual errors (relying on Spell Check will not do the job). Have a teacher read the story, as well as classmates. Editing is an important part of the process; be open to suggestions that will make the story better.
6) The Posting
The finished story needs to be posted on www.mshsl.org. Your school has its own page on the site. Your administrator and/or teacher will have a login ID and password that will give you limited access to your school's page.

Posting Your Story on the MSHSL Website
Each school's MSHSL website administrator can grant students access by...
--clicking on "Edit Web Users" under School Information.
--Typing in the student's first and last name, then typing in a username and password of the site administrator's choosing.
--Under Access Level, click on "Student Media."
--The student will be allowed to access the site through the "Administration" link on www.mshsl.org

Administrators can download a Posting Your Story Reference Guide to hand out to students.

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