Today, after taking a quick set of selfies (including both students and mentors), the students spent some time workshopping their story ideas for their final projects. Using their handouts from last week as a reference, they refined and narrowed their focus. We recalled the five elements of newsworthiness -- timeliness, proximity, conflict and controversy, human interest, and relevance -- and related them to potential stories.

An important element of the conversation was thinking about who our audience is, as well as why a local story would interest listeners outside of Marfa. Students offered suggestions about interview subjects, central questions to keep in mind during the reporting process, and possible angles to take. Certain ideas were very school-centric, so we also talked about maintaining an unbiased perspective and thinking as a reporter first, a student second.

A class selfie.

Mentor selfie.

Many of these ideas opened up a larger conversation about our community. For instance, one student wants to tackle urban gentrification, a trend in Marfa that has caused housing costs to rise. We discussed how gentrification is often related to urban communities in the larger media. We also came up with possible sources for this story, which include a local real estate agent, a member of the local government (who could possibly speak on future plans for affordable housing), and someone who lived in Marfa before the town became a major tourist destination.

The key here is to take these broad themes and explore them through a more specific lens. We'll continue to work on refining these ideas, and in the next few weeks we'll get into more technical aspects -- like writing scripts for radio and editing audio clips.