Kid Reporter

What You Need:

  • Tape recorder
  • Digital camera
  • List of interview questions
  • Someone in the community to profile
  • Access to a computer with Microsoft Word or PowerPoint
  • Printer
  • A local newspaper (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Help your child identify someone to interview who is old enough to remember what it was like living in the United States prior to desegregation. Possible resources are local black churches, social organizations, senior centers, or anyone in your neighborhood you many know. Contact your sources ahead of time and let them know what your intentions are and what you hope to learn from the project.
  2. Help your child draft a list of questions. Potential questions might be:
    • Describe what life was like growing up black in America. Where did you grow up and were there many other blacks in your neighborhood?
    • What was school like? Were black and white students separated?   
    • Were you ever made to feel different from mainstream society? How did you deal with racism?
    • Were there things that you are able to do now that you were not permitted to in decades past?
    • To what extent did race impact choices you made in your life, regarding education, career, your interpersonal relationships, or the way you raised your children?
    • Do you believe there is room for improvement in race relations in this country and if so, how do you think my generation can go about it?
  3. Your child should come up with as many questions as they like. Your goal is to get a true sense of who your interviewee is and what their experience was like. It's also important to remember that you do not need to stick only to the questions you've come up with. Let the conversation flow and go wherever it takes you.
  4. Have your child bring a tape recorder so they can concentrate on listening to the stories being told rather than trying to take feverish notes. Be sure your interviewees know they are being recorded.
  5. Once your child has finished their interview at home, ask your child to summarize the interview her very own newspaper article. Using Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, your child can incorporate important quotes and excerpts from their interview and use any photos they took.
  6. Have your child make it as realistic as possible. Be sure your child includes their byline (naming the author of the article) and gives photo credit to themselves. As mentioned before, if they need some inspiration, they can use a real newspaper as a guide. The article should be a coherent and complete story chronicling the interviewee and the things your child has learned. The most important thing is that there needs to be a point to the story. Make sure that the story is complete.
  7. Once your child has finished their article, make a copy and give it to the interviewee along with a thank you note for participating in such a meaningful project.

Your child will learn things that will go beyond what can be taught in a classroom with this meaningful project. The end result will be a piece of writing that you and your child will be proud of along with an experience that your child will never forget.

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