Source list

The purpose of the source list is to get you thinking early about how you will gather information to sufficiently inform your audience. This is one of the toughest things for developing media writers to master.

Your sources must be:

  • relevant to the piece

  • accessible on campus

  • unfamiliar to you (no interviewing moms or roommates)

You are required to submit a list that includes

  • at least three secondary-source previously published pieces (background research from newspapers, magazines, etc.), list specific citations but do not attach copies

  • at least three primary-source documents (information that has not been already digested by another reporter) plus one to two sentences describing each document’s specific relevance to your topic

  • at least three interview subjects (specific real people, not simply “a researcher who looks at …”) and the relevant themes you plan to explore when interviewing them. You do not need to make contact with these folks just yet, but you do need to demonstrate that you’ve put some thought into who might make a good source for your project. Remember, these sources cannot be friends or family members.

To submit: Turn your list in to the Canvas dropbox


Gabby Greatwriter
J202 Spring 2019
Individual Story Source List

Approved story idea: Examine how student privacy rights affect reporting on crimes committed by students and the implications for campus safety.

Secondary sources: previously published pieces

1. Brown wants student-privacy limits

The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio), June 17, 2018 Wednesday, NEWS; Pg. 01B, 676 words, Jill Riepenhoff and Todd Jones, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

2. Doyle creates task force to improve safety on college campuses

The Associated Press State & Local Wire, May 2, 2013 Wednesday 9:17 PM GMT, STATE AND REGIONAL, 511 words, By CARRIE ANTLFINGER, Associated Press Writer

3. Judge Orders University to Turn Over Crime Records

The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 27, 2019, Friday, STUDENTS; Pg. 1, 1229 words, ERIC HOOVER

Primary sources

  • UW-Madison brochure detailing student privacy rights,

  • UW-Madison campus safety report,

  • Balancing Student Privacy, Campus Security, and Public Safety: Issues for Campus Leaders. American Association of State Colleges and Universities,

Interview subjects

  • Kristen Roman, UW-Madison police chief, 608-262-4527
    themes to discuss: nature of crime on and off campus, rules for disclosure, recent cases

  • Joel DeSpain, Madison Police Department Public Information Officer, 608-266-4275
    themes to discuss: nature of crime on and off campus, relationship with university, recent cases

  • Kathy Kruse, UW-Madison assistant dean of students,
    themes to discuss: conflict between student privacy and reporting on crimes committed by students, university policies, recent cases

Remember that not all sources are credible. You must identify sources that provide sound information. One way to check their veracity is to gauge how many and what kind of other sources — including news media — have cited the information found. We also typically don’t allow anonymous sources or sources to use only their first names. Those kinds of attributions are only allowed under special circumstances — and only with instructor approval. Visit office hours to discuss whether your situation qualifies.

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