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Most likely to…

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We didn’t have senior superlatives at my high school, but if we did, I hope mine would have said “Most likely to practice what she preaches…”

Here’s the thing. We say we’re all about empowering students. We say it’s their book. We say we teach, coach, advise, train and then step back and watch. We say we support free speech. So why would we be the ones to decide whether they “can” or “should” do superlatives in their publication?

As teachers, we teach accuracy, fairness, truth, integrity as core values for journalists. Those apply here too, and when students practice them, things are good. They can and will make difficult, important decisions on their own.

As advisers, we teach marketing, advertising and promotion skills, too. Successful programs know that marketing strategies have changed dramatically over the years, from the typical handmade poster hung in the hallway to Facebook, Twitter, text messages and other ways to reach the students who read, buy and appear in our yearbooks. Staying on top means knowing what your readers want and need.

I think superlatives are dumb. I’ve always disliked them. But the staffs I’ve advised like them and the readers at the schools I’ve taught want them (How do I know? My staffs do surveys, polls, focus groups…). So we do them.

My job, then, if we go back to the “empowering” thing, is to prepare students to do those superlatives well. That goes back to the whole core values thing: accuracy, fairness, truth, integrity.

There’s a way for us as advisers to make this work, and I think we should. After all, we said we would.

Sarah Nichols, MJE

 

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