Posts made in October 8th, 2009

J programs deserve saving

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Budget concerns are causing schools all over the country to cut one of the programs where students learn the most, journalism.   Isn’t learning by students the primary goal of schools?   Students in publication classes learn not only writing skills, they learn to work as a team to produce a publication. They learn to work with deadlines and budgets.  They sell ads.   They learn computer skills.  These are sellable skills in anyone’s mind.    Running a student controlled publication is like running a small business.

When they are given the freedom to do make the content decisions, they learn critical thinking skills that will help them no matter what career they choose.

Students who are given the opportunity to do investigative reporting on subjects of interest to their readers learn the most.   Let’s face it, research for most papers in other English classes is done on the internet these days.   Reporters for a publication talk to people instead because they have to localize their research.   Interviewing people about subjects they may not really want to talk about is a skill taught nowhere else.   Preparing good questions, taking good notes, plus thinking up new questions when answers lead to other directions, teaches students invaluable skills.  Researching legalities is a whole other blog.

We need to fight to keep these valuable classes alive by reminding administrators about what students learn there.  Learning the most possible is what schools should be all about.

Fern Valentine, MJE

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School Publications Become School History

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Recently my husband and I attended his high school class reunion.. Everyone was glad to see old friends especially those who had traveled across the country to attend. These reunions are something you high school students can’t really imagine, but you need to take care.
Reunions always feature a memorabilia table covered with all sorts of “stuff” but prominently featured are always high school newspapers and yearbooks from “their year.”
You may not think of your senior year as “your year,” but, believe me, it is for all time as far as your school is concerned.
So, whenever, you are tired and want to go home early on layout night or wonder if all the time and work it takes to write an in depth story is worth it, remember that you and your friends will be looking at it at least every five or ten years for the rest of your life. School newspapers and yearbooks become the historical record of that school year.
Also, when senior picture time comes around, put on your best smile. I can guarantee you, it will be on your name badge at every reunion.
Fern Valentine, MJE

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