Pages Navigation Menu



Does the start of a new school year always lead to rolling out new procedures, ideas or policies?Should it?

By John Bowen, MJE

Maybe, for instance, a new staff and school year might be an excellent time to revisit publication Mission Statements, Editorial Policy, your Ethical Guidelines and the procedures to carry out quality student media leadership made possible by journalistic responsibility? 

Focus on an important news story reported as school starts.

Banning many things or ideas in schools is not new. Banning cell phones during the school day has a long and varied history of differing positions: 
• Cell phones disrupted the school day.

• Cell phones encouraged cheating.
• Cell phones changed opinions when communities learned they could be useful.
• Cell phones could better alert parents if violence occurred at school.
• Cell phones, and their offspring, Smartphones, enabled students to cheat, to disrupt and to steal, but in newer ways.

There’s more: How much does it cost to control the technology? How can schools safely bag phones away from students?

More questions and sources are possible: 
• The story could have a myriad community angles.
• The story could have lighter, human-interest angles.
• The story could have scathing angles of condemnation for the school board’s waste of money, how banning demeans students or how students just might have brought it on themselves. Or was student leadership lacking?
• Or a plethora of others to engage various stakeholders.

Develop multi-faceted successful content. Might that be a good way to demonstrate student media leadership? Infographics, sidebars and multi-media can add perspective and depth.

By rooting accurate, truthful and verified content in the fertile ground of Mission Editorial Policy, Ethical Guidelines and procedures for thorough stories have students reinforced journalism’s value in democracy?

Meanwhile, in schools everywhere, student media will raise questions about what essential topics exist this year and how students can successfully publish them.

Will your journalists know where to go and whom to interview? Will their stories reveal substantive and creative thinking? 


Pages: 1 2