About the Cunniff Kids News

Here is a little background on the Cunniff Kids News (as of November 2013):

WHO:  Cunniff Kids News.

WHAT: Student-reported and student-written online newspaper.

WHERE: Cunniff School, 246 Warren St., Watertown, Mass., 02472.

NEWSROOM: Cunniff library, open each Tuesday after school, from 2:30-3:30 p.m.

WHEN: Launched December, 2007.

WHY: To provide an organic framework for students to improve their writing skills.

REPORTERS: Open to all Cunniff students, pre-K through fifth grade. More than 150 students have been

trained as reporters in the first six years. On a typical week, 25-30 reporters are in the newsroom each week.

DUES/FEES: $25 per student per year.

LESSONS: Students are taught principles of journalism, starting with the necessity of the Five W’s.

Other topics of instruction have included many facets of journalism and writing, including:

interviewing skills; writing for an audience; organization; description; quotes and paraphrasing;

leads; transitions; and fact-checking and attribution.

PUBLISHING: More than 200 stories have been published, generating more than 60,000 page views.

READERSHIP: Nearly 300 people have free subscriptions.

OF SPECIAL NOTE: To the best of our knowledge, the Cunniff Kids News was the first program of its kind in the United States.

STORY SUBJECTS: The Cunniff Kids News reporters look for stories that are interesting to the people

in the Cunniff School community. The newspaper has many sections: Front Page News (important,

breaking news); Corridors and Classrooms (classroom and school activities); An Eye for News (photo

galleries on special events); Pleased to Meet You (profiles); The World Around Us (interesting

happenings outside of school); Fun and Games (sports and recreation); Read All About It! (book

reviews); An Interview With … (in-depth interviews with one subject); May I Ask a Few Questions?

(press conferences); To the Cove and Beyond! (travel).

NOTEWORTHY SUBJECTS: Reporters have reported many stories on location. Among those trips were visits to

Museum of Science (media day for the “Harry Potter” exhibit), Gillette Stadium; Museum of Fine Arts;

Ringling Brothers Circus; Boston Blazers lacrosse; Shubert Theater; Battle of Lexington and Concord;

Charlesbridge Publishing; Lowell Devils hockey; the Plumbing Museum; and three trips to the

construction site of the new Watertown Police Department. Interview subjects — in and out of the

newsroom — have included a who’s who of local and national names, including Olympic athletes

(Angela Hucles), authors (Mary Pope Osborne, Mary McDonald, Andrew Clements), comics (Frank

Santorelli), NFL stars (Len St. Jean, John Hannah), rock bands (Smoosh, Harry and the Potters) and

actors (Debbie Ryan, Henry Winkler, and Emily Osment).

ADVISOR: John Vitti, Cunniff parent

NEWSPAPER EMAIL: [email protected]

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About the Cunniff Kids News