Posts made in November 8th, 2011

A window on the faces of scholastic journalism: Extensive details about student media presented

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Although scholastic media maintain a strong presence across the nation, according in a new study their numbers lag in schools with large minority and poor populations.

Kent State University’s Center for Scholastic Journalism conducted the study, and its findings came from 1,023 public schools, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, from a total sample of 4, 354 schools.

“Our study doesn’t really tell us how healthy high school journalism is, but it does confirm it’s there and in large numbers,” said Mark Goodman, Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism and one of the survey’s principal investigators.

The full report is available on the Center for Scholastic Journalism’s site.

Of schools surveyed, results showed 96 percent offer some opportunity for students to create content in a school-sponsored journalistic activity. Goodman said he hopes the telling results from this year’s Scholastic Journalism Census will  prompt a periodic assessment of the state of scholastic media.

“We want this count to provide a baseline from which we can assess changes in student journalism over time,” he said.

Other report findings included:

• 54 percent of students in schools without any student media qualify for free or a reduced lunch price. In schools with student media offering, that number is 41 percent.
• Public high schools across the country publish more than 11,000 student newspapers, outnumbering daily and weekly U. S. newspapers by more than 3,000 publications.
• More schools have a student yearbook than any other forum of student media.
• More than 15,000 public high schools offer a journalism or publications class, and the majority of all student media activities are produced in relationship to a class.
• Only 33 percent of surveyed schools have any form of online student media, and only 8 percent publish materials strictly online.
• The average school with student media has 873 students and a 35 percent minority population. The average school without student media has 222 students with a 56 percent minority population.

Some of these findings should be of particular interest to JEA, said assistant professor Candace Perkins Bowen, director of the Center for Scholastic Journalism and another principal investigator. “With that many journalism classes in the nation, our organization should be able to offer curricular support. The right kind of solid classes connected to something like the Common Core Standards could help protect student media and allow it to thrive.”

However, the lack of journalism in smaller schools with higher poverty and minority populations creates a stumbling block.

“Students who might benefit most from having journalism in the curriculum appear least likely to have it offered in their schools,” said Piotr Bobkowski, University of Kansas assistant professor and the survey’s third principal investigator.

Goodman said he hopes JEA and other adviser groups can use this data to support journalism educators.

“Advisers play a crucial role in the success of scholastic media programs and the defense of student press freedom,” he said. “I hope that we all can work to end the roadblocks of high school journalism programs moving online”

To download the full report, visit the Center for Scholastic Journalism site.

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