Last spring, a local newspaper in Pelham, New York, shut down. A group of students decided to start their own news site, Pelham Examiner. TFK’s Brian S. McGrath spoke with the managing editor, Francesca Di Cristofano, about the challenges and rewards of running a news site.
I was editor of the Youth Beat section of a local paper called News of Pelham. That paper shut down. But its young journalists wanted to continue reporting. So we started our own site.
We have 30 writers on staff. Our youngest reporter is in the sixth grade.
We publish up to three stories each day. We cover features and local sports faster than any other source. We are also free and nonprofit. Our staff is doing this because they love it and because they want to serve the public good.
In a democracy, it is important to have reliable news. Because of our site, people can recognize problems in our town and move toward solving them.
We published an opinion piece on banning plastic straws in Pelham. Another was a feature on the Pelham Boy Scouts accepting female scouts for the first time.
People have been surprised. They say the writing seems like it was done by adults working in the news business.
You have a responsibility to give an unbiased report that abides by your philosophy. At the Examiner, we are not afraid to identify the issues that affect our town. We strive to be fearless in what we publish.
Get experience writing! You need to learn what questions to ask. You can only learn that by experience. You just have to go out and do it.
Stop & Think! What is bias? Why is it important for a news source to be unbiased? How can readers detect bias in reporting?