The Wash

Story Rubric

A Note About Stories

Editors grade the stories you submit by the Monday deadline. We grade them based on how they arrive, not how they end up.

You will get feedback, editorial suggestions, and some questions (about things like attribution) before publishing on Tuesday morning. You must meet a professional standard before the public sees your work on the Wash.  Editors reserve the right to provide a grade but not publish articles.

We will grade social media teases on Tuesday afternoon.

Instructors may give each student-journalist one “free pass” first look in addition to ongoing editorial guidance. It’s optional. No grade. Just feedback. Help in this form only occurs if you get us a draft early. There must be enough time for us to look at it — and for you to take our edits and rework the article — before Monday’s deadline.

Grade Breakdown

(100 points total)

Communication (10 points): Communication with editors on the student in-class workday. This score has two components: a written progress report emailed to the instructor at the end of your research day and clear verbal communication with editors during the gathering process.

News content and value (50 points): Execution of a professionally written news story within the assigned timeframe on the student’s publishing day. This includes grammar, proper AP style, smooth transitions, quality of interview subjects, memorable quotes, readability and news value. The headline and excerpt are also included in this category.

Visual Elements (20 points total):

(10) Required featured image and at least two other images for the interior of the article. Graphics/charts that enhance the reader’s understanding of the topic count as one of the images and are encouraged through weighted grading.

(10)  A social media posting that provides news content and entices the reader to visit The Wash for the full version. Top scores go to edited video packages.

Newsgathering effort (20 points): This includes the strength and depth of research, news timeliness, use of data or investigative techniques, and field reporting efforts.


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