October 30th, 2007
10:09 PM ET

Halloween Humor

One of the things I love about working on CNN Student News:  the fun we have on air.  We always take the serious stories seriously, but anyone who's seen the "hoodle" or the recent Mud Run knows that the goofy stuff gets coverage too.  Not every news show gives you the chance to make some cheesy pun at the end or to do what we did at the end of Wednesday's Halloween program, for example...

Tell us what you thought!

Filed under: News Coverage
October 28th, 2007
08:42 PM ET

Don't Miss Us on Halloween!

No, I'm not going to be in costume, though I did ask.  (My executive producer's expression suggested that it wouldn't be a good idea.)  However... we are planning a special Halloween trip Off the Beaten Path, and you'll see some SERIOUS costumes in that.  I guarantee you they're better than the sheet with the eyeholes cut out.

I miss trick-or-treating.  For some reason, people aren't amused when a 6-foot-2-inch dude in a suit shows up at their doorstep.  They think I'm either selling something or campaigning for office.  If you're planning on a costume, though, tell us about it here!

Filed under: Behind the scenes • Uncategorized
October 24th, 2007
10:06 PM ET

Covering Wildfires

  • Monday:  We're going to start in Southern California, where firefighters have their hands full...
  • Tuesday:  It's gotten worse – even worse than officials feared...
  • Wednesday:  President Bush made an emergency disaster declaration...
  • Thursday:  A shift in the wind:  It's given firefighters some help...

Leading with California's wildfires four days in a row not only reflects the magnitude of this disaster; it shows how dynamic the situation is.  Covering fires is somewhat like covering a living being – something capable of climbing trees, switching directions, leaping across roads, always leaving its mark behind.

In each day's show, we've tried to give you different perspectives on this event, so that we're not only showing you how it has changed the landscape; we're trying to give you a sense of its effects on almost a million people, on firefighters, on homes, and even on pets. 

What images will you remember most?

Filed under: News Coverage
October 22nd, 2007
09:07 PM ET

What About Endorsements?

Ask your friends about Chuck Norris, and someone might tell you that Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door or that Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.  But can Chuck Norris influence a presidential election?

On today's CNN Political Ticker, there was a story about how Norris is supporting Republican candidate Mike Huckabee for president.  Separately, Oprah Winfrey has recently made it clear that her choice is Democratic candidate Barack Obama.  Does any of this matter to you?

Let's say you just became a registered voter, and your favorite singer/football player/actor endorsed a political candidate.  Are you more likely to vote for that candidate?  Would you look for more info on the candidate, or would you not care at all?

Filed under: Uncategorized
October 18th, 2007
07:09 PM ET

Laughable Laws

Inspired by this Friday's story on some weird laws, I took to the Internet to see if I could find any others worth mentioning.  I found two:  one that said donkeys may not be kept in bathtubs and one that said you can't carry an ice cream cone in your back pocket on Sundays.

Well, there go my weekend plans.

Now I didn't personally go and find these in the law books, so I can't promise you these rules are being enforced.  But we'd love to know what is.  So if you get a chance this weekend to rummage through your own state's laws and come up with anything obscure, strange, or just plain nuts, tell us about it in this here blog!

And as for your pet donkey, keep him out of the bathroom.

Filed under: Uncategorized
October 17th, 2007
09:57 PM ET

Planet in Peril – Your Opinion

If you haven't heard by now, CNN is debuting a special documentary called Planet in Peril next week. It's going to explore environmental concerns around the globe, and promises to be two great nights of television. 

We've been running video explainers about the topics covered in the doc on CNN Student News, and we asked for your thoughts about the program, and a number of you responded. A special thanks to the students from Bonney Lake, Washington!

And one teenager from Massachusetts, Casey Ehrlich, also sent us some pics of her great environmental outreach project: blankettheglobe.net. You can see more photos here.

A few more plugs for PIP: It has stunning HD photography, some cool music by R.E.M., and (guess what?) FREE curriculum perfect for your classroom, including pre-and post-viewing discussion questions.

Also, if you sign up for our free daily newsletter, you'll receive a Planet in Peril world map poster. (while supplies last)

This project is HUGE, and we're pretty proud to be a part of it. Be sure to check it out Oct. 23-24, 9 p.m. ET. And let us know what you think.

October 16th, 2007
10:09 PM ET

Do Drills Matter?

It seems like there've been school fire drills since they invented schools and fire.  I remember the worst ones being in the middle of winter, though they still gave us a chance to meet up with our friends outside...

You know there are good intentions behind emergency drills – you can never be too rich, good-looking, or safe! – but do they matter to you?

Today, you heard Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff say, "If you're a football team and you never actually play a scrimmage game, you're never going to know what's working and what's not working."  That's true enough for sports, but does the same apply to school drills?  Think about lockdown and tornado drills:  Do you feel more prepared by them, or are they just a chance to get out of class for a few minutes?  ...Or both?

Filed under: Feedback
October 14th, 2007
06:34 PM ET

Where Am I?

I spoke at Snellville Middle School last week, and some students there asked me what I do on Mondays and Tuesdays, when Monica anchors the show.  I'm usually stretched out on a blindingly bright beach in the South Pacific, listening to waves lapping on the sand, lazily wondering if I should ever return to Atlanta...

Actually, I'm either assisting in production, writing original reports for the program, voicing the interstitial segments, writing scripts for the show itself, or a little bit of everything.  It's not quite the same as a far-off Fijian reverie, but it pays the bills.

On Sunday, for example, Jordan had the day off, so I was in the writer's seat, crafting what Monica would say on Monday's show.  So my question for you is... could you tell?

Filed under: Uncategorized
October 10th, 2007
05:57 PM ET

A Thoughtful Process

Hi, I'm Donna Krache, executive producer of CNN Student News.  Today's First Up story about the school shooting in Ohio is the kind of story that is tough to tell to anyone, but even tougher to present to our student audience.  Each day, we hold an editorial meeting where we talk about the stories we will cover, and the context in which we will cover them.  Today's meeting involved a very thoughtful discussion about how to tell this story, one that we know the students will be talking about.  At times the discussion sounded more like an intense debate. Our writer was concerned about singling out kids who are "different" as "threatening."  Our curriculum manager was adamant that we empower kids by giving them a sense of control over their own safety.  Everyone on staff agreed  that the story is news, and in a daily news program, it needed to be told. 

We are always mindful of our responsibility to present the news of the day to our unique audience and give a lot of thought as to how that is done. 

Filed under: Uncategorized
October 9th, 2007
10:00 PM ET

A Musical Moment

"Jeff, Jordan, why don't you guys play something on the show?"


We wanted to celebrate Start the Art Week, which promotes fine arts in school. And Jeff DeHayes (our Web producer) and I both play instruments. But we're used to staying BEHIND the camera. So when Carl brought up the idea of us jamming on the show, the butterflies started forming. But after a very quick rehearsal and a bout of stage fright, it came together.  You can see how it turned out here.

But how about you guys? Are you a painting prodigy? A virtuoso violinist? An enthralling thespian? Send us a video I-Report of your artistic achievements.

Filed under: Uncategorized
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