How 15 Students Got Published in Local Papers

Published on November 21, 2013 by arothstein

How did fifteen Broadview University-Orem students get letters to the editor published in local newspapers this quarter?

It all started when Sean Nobmann, paralegal program chair, asked students in his Professional Communication course to write a letter regarding a local issue of their choice. The inspiration for the assignment stemmed from an incident several years ago where sixty students from the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) submitted letters to the editor of The New York Times, and seventeen of those ended up getting published.

Broadview University-Orem

Fifteen students in Sean Nobmann’s Professional Communication class got their letters to the editor published in local papers.

Even though The New York Times editor called the project “probably the most successful group of letter writers in the paper’s history,” the staff took issue with some letters that used fake names, addresses, and even personas.

Instructor Nobmann (who wasn’t a Duke TIP student, but did graduate from Duke Law School) wanted to recreate the success of the initial Duke TIP campaign, but without the unethical baggage. He told his students they must use their real names in each letter they submit.

To say the assignment has been a success would be an understatement. As of today, fifteen out of twenty-nine students have had their letters published in Utah newspapers—from the Deseret News to the Salt Lake Tribune—with several of those letters being published in more than one newspaper. (See the full list of published letters below.)

“I was impressed by the writing, but even more so by the quality of ideas these students had,” Nobmann said. “It just reinforced my belief in the strength of our human capital at this University.”

Not to be outdone by his students, Nobmann’s letter was also published. His letter raised the issue of renaming city streets, which is a fairly mild topic compared to many of the controversial issues raised by the students.
Broadview University-Orem

John Castro, a navy veteran and criminal justice program student, wrote a letter opposing employment discrimination against people with tattoos. His letter has already generated more than 30 comments and plenty of lively debate.

Carol Kidman, a vet tech program student, wrote a letter about how she transferred her son to a different school after she found a Facebook video of him being assaulted by junior high bullies.

Other issues raised included the pledge of allegiance, the government’s common core education system, workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and even a letter suggesting that gun rights discourse would be more sophisticated if all Americans were required to take a hunter’s safety course.

In the end, fifteen out of twenty-nine students had their letters printed—and no one had to use a pseudonym or a new persona to do it. This class gets an “A” for effort and for ethics.

List of all letters published:

Aimee Peterson: Libraries are Important Resources
Audrey Mathisen: Firearm Education
Brittany Christensen: Contraceptive Education
Brittany Christensen: Stop Ignoring Teaching Contraception
Carol Kidman: Bullying Issues
Cassandra Cleek: Common Core
Debra Anderson: We are all Suspects
John Castro: Discrimination against tattoos in the workplace is wrong
John Castro: Tattoo Discrimination
KeAnna Day: Suicide Awareness
Kirsten Riley: Rodeo clown treated unfairly for poking fun at Obama
Melanee Davis: Workers Should be Judged by their Work Only
Melissa Hooper: Pledge Allegiance
Sable Tanner: Food dangerous to pets should be labeled
Sable Tanner: Killer Foods
Samantha Brooks: Walmart Town
Sean Nobmann: Utah County Needs One Center Street
Shauna Sampson: Stop Bullying
Sierra Phillips: Horse Treatment
Sierra Phillips: Wild horses have historical value to U.S.

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