One of the courses I'm teaching this semester at Marianopolis College is Print Journalism. This week, students had to write a letter to the editor. We've been studying what makes a letter to the editor work -- a letter needs to be concise, well written, and it helps if it makes an unusual or controversial point.
To give my students a little extra incentive, I told them if their letters to the editor were published in the Montreal Gazette, I would give one bonus mark to the writers of those letters. (I should tell you here that a certain editor I know who works at the paper, is not keen on my assignment. He thinks I am skewing public opinion since he says that if it weren't for the assignment, those students would probably not bother writing to the paper. To that, I say, "Bah! It's fun" and as you may know, I am a great believer in fun -- and in the excitement that comes from seeing our work in print.)
Yesterday, I was very pleased to see that Alisha K's letter about Haiti made it into the paper. And imagine my delight when I opened the paper just now and saw that nearly half of the letters on the letters to the editor page were written by my students (here's to Irina B, Alex S, Michelle S and Rosa L!). If you've got the paper, check out the letters, and if not, here's a link to today's letters page. (Alisha's letter is still up, too.) So congratulations to all of you. I'll keep checking the letters page, hoping to see more contributions from my clever class!
I think that without the assignment, the younger generation wouldn't voice their opinion. Since I am all for young people voicing their opinions and standing up for what they believe in, I am all for the assignment... People in my age group need to learn the importance of knowing what is going on in the world. Just my opinion
I was so bummed when my two letters never got published!! But I will keep trying - even though there's no more bonus marks for me!! Maybe, in a way, it's a good thing not to instantly get a letter published because now I'm more determined and I actually WANT to write to the Gazette editors! Congrats to all your students and it's nice to be reading your blog again!! All the best