All-Purpose Story Rubric for Scholastic Journalism

All-Purpose Story Rubric for Scholastic Journalism
All-Purpose Story Rubric for Scholastic Journalism
All-Purpose Story Rubric for Scholastic Journalism
All-Purpose Story Rubric for Scholastic Journalism
All-Purpose Story Rubric for Scholastic Journalism
All-Purpose Story Rubric for Scholastic Journalism
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Common Core Standards
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This is the story rubric that I created, perfected, and used during my 25+ years advising high school newspapers, websites, and broadcast programs.

One of my biggest challenges as a newspaper adviser that I didn't have to face in any other English class I taught was to put the full responsibility for drafting, revising, and editing stories onto the students--especially since everything my students wrote was being published for the whole community to see, or even the whole world for our website content. Naturally, I wanted it to be perfect, since journalism sets high standards for accuracy and since the work was representative of me as a teacher and of our school as whole. But, I was advising a STUDENT publication...not a teacher publication or a school newsletter.

This form helped me to step back while still maintaining high standards for my students. We worked on a one-month production schedule for the print edition, so at least a week before I wanted final copies of stories due, I would set an "editor's due date." (I learned quickly not to call this a rough draft due date. The story the students turned in to their editors was supposed to be a complete version of the story written to the best of their ability.) The editors would read through each story and make notes on the story (or on a Google Doc of the story), but they would also check off the items on the checklist that the reporter accomplished. If a story didn't accomplish all the items, the editor would give it back to the reporter for a rewrite. This process would go on until the editor could sign off on the checklist...or until time ran out. On the final adviser's due date, I would get the checklist, all versions of the story (unless it was on a Google Doc), and a final copy to grade.

There are two different checklists on the sheet, but editors only used one per story. Most stories used the first, longer checklist. However, opinion stories or alternative story form pieces would used the second, shorter checklist. Similarly, some criteria on the adviser rubric is divided into "regular story" points or "opinion/ASF" story points. On my staff, every student wrote one regular story and one opinion or ASF story a month. Because regular stories involved more research and interviewing and were longer, they were worth 100 points and opinion/ASF stories were worth 80 points. A large portion of the grade--at least 20%--was for correct English usage and grammar and for using correct AP style. That's a lot, I know. However, as mentioned before, students were responsible for all editing and their work was representing everyone on the staff (including me) and the school as a whole. Also, I had well-trained, excellent editors who would catch the errors on drafts. So, if a student was marked down on a final copy for these easy problems, they either hadn't given their editor's a best-effort draft of their story to begin with, or they didn't make corrections their editors indicated. If the fault was the editor's because they signed off on a story that didn't meet all the criteria on the checklist, I would know that, too, and not penalize the reporter.

All of the criteria, both on the editor's checklist and on the rubric, are the criteria that student press organizations like the National Scholastic Press Association or Quill and Scroll use to judge stories for contests.

If you like this resource, be sure to see my other journalism resources, including the “5 Essential Rubrics Bundle,” which includes this form and other grading forms I used during the production process.
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2 pages
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