With scholastic journalism’s expansion into social media and use the latest bells and whistles involving multimedia, it is equally, if not more important, to be solid first in journalism basics. Four such basics are:
• Leadership. The Center for Scholastic Journalism blog highlights a series of decisions students must make about the roles they perform with their media. Today’s focus is on leadership and raises several points about its importance and how student publications seem to have lost their interest in this crucial role. The JEA Press Rights Commission also addressed the leadership issue in a three part series in March.
• Content. Leadership comes not only through student opinion on significant issues but also by providing audiences with substantive content that has long and short term impact on student lives. Offering interpretation and perspective adds depth to the content and can show that today’s events have roots in past decisions, and that others face similar issues. Answering the “why” and “how” questions often get overlooked in scholastic media.
• Professional standards. From establishing a professional and consistent style to knowing law and ethics, following and practicing standards is crucial. Knowing and practicing legal and ethical guidelines serves not only student media but all those affected by it.
• The Talk. Student Press Law Center consultant Mike Hiestand writes that final decisions of the questions raised above – and all others –really rest with the students. “It is important to have a frank conversation with your students about the position in which you, as adviser, operate,” Hiestand writes. “You support them; you believe in them; you will always strive to do your best by them.”
Student media is just that: student. It is their publication. Their work and their decision-making.