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Katrina’s Text Story

September 19, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

You’ll post your story pitches on this blog. We want each pitch to include the following:

Your Name:  Katrina Fischman
Your story format for this assignment:

___X_ Text (2 photos and/or graphics)

_____ Video

_____ Audio slideshow

Your pitch (in one short paragraph):

Each year many freshman students enroll at UNL as part of the honors program, meaning that for four years they will take honors classes and be required to turn in a thesis at the end of their fourth year in return for a $250 a semester textbook scholarship, the opportunity to live in the honors dorm, and the ability to graduate with High Distinction or Highest Distinction.  After taking all of the honors classes, using the scholarship and filling out required thesis preparation forms for three years, many students decide not to complete the thesis, thus forfeiting the honors at graduation, but not repaying the scholarship.  I want to know why many students, generally considered some of the most hardworking, dedicated and overachieving students on campus, decide to forgo the thesis.  Is it because they don’t have time or are overwhelmed with the prospect of a thesis?  Do they think it won’t make a difference in their overall future plans?  Is it because there aren’t many serious repercussions for not doing it?

Explain why this story is best told using this format.

This story is best told in this format because there is not a lot of action going on.  The only action is the students researching, which isn’t too exciting and is better caught by a quick photo than with audio or video.   There is not a lot of interesting natural sound or visual elements.

How will you tell this story visually? Please be specific.

As it is a text story there will not be many visual elements except for some pictures.  I want to get a picture of a student researching his/her thesis (this would probably consist of the student in the library reading or with books taking notes, etc.)  I also will get a picture of the various forms (arranged artistically and visually appealing) that the students in the honors program fill out throughout their four years at UNL.  I am considering doing a bar graph  of a four year period, showing how many of them that started as freshmen have dropped out each year, if  this data are tracked and available from the honors program.

List the names and titles of the sources (both those you have talked with already and those you plan to talk to) and describe what role they will play in the story.

Zachary Mapes is a senior honors student in the College of Education and Human Sciences who is not doing his thesis.  He has agreed to be interviewed for the story as to why he decided to not do his thesis.

Justin Shilhanek is a senior honors Psychology major who is reluctantly doing his thesis.  I have not arranged with him to be interviewed yet, but if he declines I have several other students I can interview that are doing the thesis.  I want to know the factors that played a role in his decision to complete the thesis.

I plan on contacting Dr. Karen Lyons, the director of the honors program.  I am going to ask how many students that start as freshmen in the honors program end up completing a thesis their senior year, what are the penalties for not completing the thesis, why she thinks students don’t complete the thesis, why the honors program requires a thesis, the thesis process, etc.  I also want to give the honors program a chance to respond to the students’ reasoning for not doing the thesis (for example, lack of guidance, etc.) to provide balance in the story.

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