As part of a course at George Mason University on teaching and learning history in the digital age, we have been asked to develop an “elevator pitch” for our final projects. My project will have students study and report on the first newspaper published in Pierce County, Wisconsin.
Here’s my first attempt at the elevator pitch:
The Prescott Paraclete, the first newspaper in Pierce County, was published in 1855. However, little is known about the newspaper and its editor. To learn about the historical context in which the newspaper appeared and to gain an appreciation for the work of a historian, students will spend four weeks researching the Paraclete and presenting their findings to the general public. The project has three distinct components: researching primary and secondary sources that illuminate the newspaper and the context in which it was published; analyzing and interpreting a specific document related to journalism in western Wisconsin; and creating Wikipedia posts about various aspects of local and media history related to the Paraclete. Students will acquire skills in locating and interrogating historical documents, learn how to develop thoughtful questions about the intersection of media and local history, and practice presenting their findings to the public.
It needs work and should probably explicitly refer to our department’s learning outcomes. But it’s a start.