Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fewer high school papers worries PPC

A sharp drop in the number of high school newspapers has prompted the Peninsula Press Club to explore ways it can promote student journalism. After all, many of today's journalists got their first taste of the business on the high school paper. On Wednesday, Press Club board members met with high school journalism advisors and other educators. Suggestions that emerged from the meeting included:
    1. Mentoring/partnering -- Allowing current and retired journalists to mentor high school students and advisors

    2. Create an ad syndicate that would allow high school journalism programs to tap into bulk ads

    3. More teacher training -- having teachers intern at newspapers, preferably at the copy desk

    4. Establish scholarships for teacher training

    5. More outreach to journalism advisors, possibly in cooperation with the California Newspaper Publishers Association, or CNPA

    6. Meet with principals and/or superintendents and tell them what's what

    7. Create online synergy

    8. Having newspapers allow for student journalists to blog

    9. Creating a speakers' bureau of journalists who can talk to classes or give critiques

    10. Job shadowing

    11. Allow a newspaper venue for journalism advisor socializing

    12. Create a way for journalism advisors to communicate

    13. Invite advisors/students to Press Club events like Bench/Bar media

    14. Approach foundations for financial assistance

    15. Wider publicity about Press Club awards to high school journalists -- including e-mails to the school's principal, superintendent, PTSA president, etc.

    16. Printing photos taken by student journalists in community newspapers

    17. Forming a coalition of student papers to get the best prices on printing
The discussion also yielded reasons why high school newspapers are disappearing. Teachers said the move toward standardized testing means fewer "frills" in the classroom, such as journalism and art. Also, journalism teachers tend to be newer teachers who are less likely to want to take risks since they lack tenure.

The Press Club's board plans to explore all of the suggestions listed above. The board is also interested in hearing from others in the news business. Contact executive director Darryl Compton.

One more note: The deadline for the Press Club's annual high school journalism contest is March 31. Click here for more information. (Above are some of the winners of the Press Club's 2006 High School Journalism contest. Photo by Erik Oeverndiek.)

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