Vaccinations, College Rankings and Back to School Night: Tips for Editors

Vaccine The Republican debate in Florida sparked new national debate over the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for pre-teen and teenage girls that prevent cervical cancer. (Short url's included to help with sharing.)

That discussion can extend to your Facebook page, site or Twitter feed. Some sources of independent information: CDC – Reports of Health Concerns Following HPV Vaccination – Vaccine Safety

American Academy of Pediatricians releases statement on HPV vaccine

What do lawmakers, parents and doctors in your community say? Who should make the decision if, or when, a child is vaccinated? What are the vaccination rates in your community?

Play Nickelodeon encourages children to get active by going dark for three midday hours Saturday, Sept. 24, for Worldwide Day of Play, supported by ‘Let’s Move,’ the President’s Council On Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and the National Park Service. (Hat tip Mike Allen, Politico.) Build a conversation around "play." How many hours a week did you play when you were growing up? How many hours a week do your children play? Favorite game, outdoors? Favorite game, indoors? 

Football How can readers join the conversation with your staff experts? Try Skype. That's what the Plain-Dealer uses to connect fans to the newsroom. From the Facebook page: Got a question for Tony Grossi, Mary Kay Cabot or Dennis Manoloff about the Browns? Our Skype lines will be open from 10 – 11 a.m. to take your questions.

Local Colleges The Cincinnati Enquirer noted how local colleges fared in U.S. News & World Report rankings: The USNews rankings,, and similar rankings from the Forbes College Rankings,, can be used to prompt discussion. Do readers agree? What is the hidden gem in your area that these rankings miss? What local college is riding an out-dated reputation? What do families look for when they make decisions — what information do they use to rank colleges for their students?

Tweet for talent Good use of Twitter by a top editor to recruit community photographers: Carole Tarrant (@caroletarrant) RT @theburgsNRV: We're looking for people who shoot photos of h.s. sports around #nrv. Give us a shout at

Back to School Night Knees to chest, folded into tiny chairs, parents endure the annual ritual of back to school night in the hope that their involvement will help their children. Teachers sum up their philosophy of education, grading system, and classroom rules in neat seven-minute presentations. 

Some ideas and possible prompts that can stir conversation about Back to School Night:
*What would you miss most if Back to School Night was canceled?
It happened in one NJ town:
*Do you know how to reach your child's teacher — by phone? by email? Ellicott City: Back to School night opens lines of communication - 
*Did you join the PTA? Why or why not? Back-to-School Night Basics |
*Has your child's teacher explained how much time is expected for homework each day? Questions to Ask at “Back to School Night” | Power Moms Unite
*Do you plan to volunteer to help in the classroom? Back-to-School Night Basics – Back-to-school prep | GreatSchools
A content and social media plan around some of these questions encourages conversation, helps parents and educators share tips and information, and builds community. What is Back to School Night like in your area?

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