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Statement of importance of student journalism



Statement of importance of student journalism


A lesson on writing an editorial to explain the function of scholastic media.


This advanced lesson will take students through examination and discussion concerning the importance of journalism so students can write an editorial explaining their points. When students publish, they may send the article for inclusion in the JEA/NSPA editorial project e-book, which will appear on JEA’s site.


  • Students will learn and understand the Five Freedoms outlined in the First Amendment.
  • Students will begin to see how these Freedoms are present in their lives.
  • Students will understand how the First Amendment, which was written more than 200 years ago, has withstood the test of time.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1.a Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1.b Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.



150 minutes



First Amendment

Note taking

Questions for discussion

White board



Google doc access

Lesson step-by-step


  1. Introduction — 4 minutes

Choose one editorial (maybe even a local one) from CNN’s list printed for Aug. 16 in which the professional media addressed the importance and function of journalism.


  1. Text reading — 8 minutes

Ask students to read through the Boston Globe’s introduction here. Ask students to find three big takeaways or items they found poignant.


  1. Large group discussion —  (10-15 minutes)

Ask the students what they noted. Each student should post their thoughts on the whiteboard. (Having five or six post at one time helps move this along.)


  1. Small group discussion: 10 minutes

Ask students to identify trends they see. (They may note the shock of the populace actually stating the need for state-run media or the percentage of people who believe the statement “the press is the enemy of the people.”)


How can scholastic journalists fight this?


What are the ways students can make sure they are taken seriously as journalists and believed by their classmates and staff?


(Answers here should include verification, few unnamed sources, accuracy, interviewing a wide array of people, etc.)


  1. Small group reports — 10 minutes

Small groups should report what they think to the class.


Day 2:


  1. Revisit notes — 5 minutes

Ask students to review their notes from the previous day.


  1. Evaluating what the pros did — 10 minutes

Students will choose one of the editorials listed on the Boston Globe site or on NPR. What were the talking points of the editorial?


  1. Discussion preparation — 5 minutes

Explain to students they are going to work to come to a consensus concerning writing one of these editorials.


  1. Student editorial discussion in groups of 5-7 — 30 minutes

Students should come up with talking points and then write a staff editorial concerning the discussion.


Day 3


Production day (50 minutes)


Option 1:

Students should spend the first 30 minutes writing the staff editorial (in groups using Google docs) and then the rest of the class period editing the work. For the editing, each student group should pair with another to receive feedback and then, subsequently, make any necessary changes.


Option 2:

In addition to editing, students could work to meld all of the editorials together to make one that encompasses all points they deem necessary.


If the resulting editorial is published in student media, please send the content to by Sept. 25 for inclusion in an e-book.



Bring in a focus group and examine your school media credibility.


Use Constitution Day as a kick off for media literacy education for your students.

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