Posts made in February, 2012

10 ways to nurture scholastic journalism

Share

by Randy Swikle

Retired Student Newspaper Adviser
Johnsburg High School, Johnsburg, Ill.

In 2002, my principal at Johnsburg High School, Chuck Dill, was JEA’s Administrator of the Year. He was an exemplary facilitator who involved local stakeholders of scholastic journalism in a partnership that guarded student autonomy, that balanced student press rights with ethics and pedagogical responsibilities and that nurtured First Amendment education, appreciation and application.

Students were empowered but not emancipated; educators were authoritative but not authoritarian; and the school culture was collaborative and not autocratic. It was an ideal balance of responsibilities that cultivated democratic learning and inspired engaged citizenship.

One Labor Day weekend, our principal was arrested and charged with operating a motorboat while under the influence. He put the school mission above his personal vulnerability and supported the right of student reporters to cover the story on Page 1 of their Johnsburg Weekly News publication. The principal contested the charge, and a judge later exonerated him. That story was covered on Page 1, too.

In the 25 years I advised the JWN, no administrator ever threatened censorship or required prior review of the paper. Controversy was a staple, as it is in any authentic American newspaper. Rather than fear contention, the Johnsburg school community embraced diverse perspectives as an innate feature of a free society. And when journalistic mistakes were made, stakeholders did not point fingers but rather joined hands to problem-solve and inspire remedies.

Principal Dill was a proponent of partnership. I once asked him to list his expectations for the partner who advises the newspaper staff — me! His response serves as a model for nurturing scholastic journalism and the school mission:

No. 10: Understand the peripheral aspects of your job. It is more than teaching journalism. It’s also being an advocate, a problem-solver, a diplomat, a counselor, a personal mentor, a friend, a businessman, a facilitator, a spokesman and a hundred other things.

No. 9: Communicate effectively and ethically. Use strategies of dissemination and persuasion to make a profound difference on the side of what’s right. Focus on issues and maintain the courage to prioritize principle above personal vulnerability.

read more

10 ways to nurture scholastic journalism

Share

by Randy Swikle

Retired Student Newspaper Adviser
Johnsburg High School, Johnsburg, Ill.

In 2002, my principal at Johnsburg High School, Chuck Dill, was JEA’s Administrator of the Year. He was an exemplary facilitator who involved local stakeholders of scholastic journalism in a partnership that guarded student autonomy, that balanced student press rights with ethics and pedagogical responsibilities and that nurtured First Amendment education, appreciation and application.

Students were empowered but not emancipated; educators were authoritative but not authoritarian; and the school culture was collaborative and not autocratic. It was an ideal balance of responsibilities that cultivated democratic learning and inspired engaged citizenship.

One Labor Day weekend, our principal was arrested and charged with operating a motorboat while under the influence. He put the school mission above his personal vulnerability and supported the right of student reporters to cover the story on Page 1 of their Johnsburg Weekly News publication. The principal contested the charge, and a judge later exonerated him. That story was covered on Page 1, too.

In the 25 years I advised the JWN, no administrator ever threatened censorship or required prior review of the paper. Controversy was a staple, as it is in any authentic American newspaper. Rather than fear contention, the Johnsburg school community embraced diverse perspectives as an innate feature of a free society. And when journalistic mistakes were made, stakeholders did not point fingers but rather joined hands to problem-solve and inspire remedies.

Principal Dill was a proponent of partnership. I once asked him to list his expectations for the partner who advises the newspaper staff — me! His response serves as a model for nurturing scholastic journalism and the school mission:

No. 10: Understand the peripheral aspects of your job. It is more than teaching journalism. It’s also being an advocate, a problem-solver, a diplomat, a counselor, a personal mentor, a friend, a businessman, a facilitator, a spokesman and a hundred other things.

No. 9: Communicate effectively and ethically. Use strategies of dissemination and persuasion to make a profound difference on the side of what’s right. Focus on issues and maintain the courage to prioritize principle above personal vulnerability.

read more

Beyond SJW: an education for reality

Share

by Fern Valentine, MJE

SJW-2012

During Journalism week, and every week for that matter, we need to stress the unique learning opportunities a publication class offers, unique learning they will be able to utilize no matter where they head after high school.

For example, while law is mentioned at least in social studies classes, in publication classes the students learn first hand the opportunities and limitations of U.S. law including, of course, the First Amendment, but also copyright, libel, etc.   They learn to check out their legal questions with free advice from the Student Press Law Center.  They learn to use their rights responsibly investigating topics of interest to their audience.

Speaking of their audience, instead of their teacher as an audience to their writing, publications staffs have their peers and other readers as their audience, making them take special care in getting everything right. Students learn to edit copy and apply all those grammar and punctuation rules they have been taught, but, in other classes, only their teachers have corrected.

read more

Beyond SJW: an education for reality

Share

by Fern Valentine, MJE

SJW-2012

During Journalism week, and every week for that matter, we need to stress the unique learning opportunities a publication class offers, unique learning they will be able to utilize no matter where they head after high school.

For example, while law is mentioned at least in social studies classes, in publication classes the students learn first hand the opportunities and limitations of U.S. law including, of course, the First Amendment, but also copyright, libel, etc.   They learn to check out their legal questions with free advice from the Student Press Law Center.  They learn to use their rights responsibly investigating topics of interest to their audience.

Speaking of their audience, instead of their teacher as an audience to their writing, publications staffs have their peers and other readers as their audience, making them take special care in getting everything right. Students learn to edit copy and apply all those grammar and punctuation rules they have been taught, but, in other classes, only their teachers have corrected.

read more

‘Social Media Toolbox’ available for those
considering, and using, social media in journalism

Share

SJW-2012

Marina Hendricks, a member of JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission, has developed a “Social Media Toolbox” for use by student journalists and their advisers. The toolbox, available at hendricksproject.wordpress.com, features 16 lessons on social media plus related resources. The lessons can be used as a unit or individually, depending on the needs of students, advisers and school publication programs.

As a unit, the lessons are designed to help student journalists and their advisers navigate the transition into using social media as part of their publication programs. The unit starts with ethical decision-making to help guide students through the process. It continues with exploration of reasons for using social media, consideration of how social media tools are employed by journalists, and evaluation of the school community’s use of social media through a survey.
read more