Journalist Gives Students Inside Scoop on Newswriting

March 1, 2006
Ultra Vires

On March 1, 2006, Kirk Makin, an award-winning justice columnist for the Globe & Mail, visited the grade 10 English LAWS class at Central Tech. Using examples from his work on the Bernardo and Guy Paul Morin trials, Mr. Makin facilitated an engaging workshop on how to write an effective lead paragraph. The following is an article written by a LAWS student describing Mr. Makin’s visit to her class. It was published in Ultra Vires, the Facutly of Law’s student newspaper.

By Luxsumey Vijayanathan, grade 10
Central Technical School

On March 1st, news writer Kirk Makin shared his expertise with grade 10 LAWS (Law in Action Within Schools) students at Central Technical School.

Makin, a news reporter from the Globe and Mail, gave an interactive workshop  on the justice system and the news media. The visit was arranged by the LAWS Program, an educational partnership between the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Central Technical School.

Some of the topics he covered included writing catchy leads, article writing, and reporting on the justice system. Makin got the students to write their own leads and  read them out loud to the class. After each reading, he provided a brief critique.

“I learned a lot of new stuff that will help me with my writing. It was really interesting,” said Ada Lam, one of about 25 students in this semester’s grade 10 English LAWS course.

Mr. Makin also provided students with a greater understanding of law related issues such as innocent people being found wrongfully guilty of murder.

Students were particularly impressed with Makin’s experience as a crime reporter. Makin, who has written a book on the Guy Paul Morin case, was able to provide the students with first-hand accounts of reporting on crime cases such as the Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka trials.

“It was interesting to hear about something that’s usually on TV,” said one student.

And what was Mr. Makin’s advice to students after he listened to their examples of news article leads? “I think you should just skip first year journalism and go straight to second year.”

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