The role of the adviser in student-run media incorporates teacher, coach, counselor, listener and devil’s advocate but not doer.
Students learn best when they are empowered to make their own decisions with support from the adviser on the sideline. A clear understanding of the adviser’s role helps students take ownership of their work and the program overall.
Staff manual process
The adviser position should have a job description, just as staff members do. Outlining what the adviser will and won’t do makes all parties aware of the student-centered environment, helps students and parents understand the leadership structure of the editorial board and prevents tasks from going unassigned.
Possible considerations for advisers to address include:
• Making reporting assignments and setting deadlines
• Evaluating student work (editing and providing feedback versus grading)
• Providing work periods outside class time, such as deadline nights, and determining parameters for these sessions
• Teaching about financial considerations and offering guidance on budgetary matters
• Acting as a liaison with service professionals
• Handling disciplinary issues in accordance with school policies and contractual obligations
• Planning instruction and curriculum
• Selecting staff members
• Clarifying student responsibilities adviser will not complete (such as conducting interviews, finishing work in progress, shooting photos, selling ads, changing stories, correcting errors, making final content decisions).
JEA Standards for Journalism Educators, Journalism Education Association
JEA Adviser Code of Ethics JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee
Audio: 10 Tips for Dealing With Censorship, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee, Press Rights Minute
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