Building a High Quality High School Newspaper

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Building a High Quality High School Newspaper

This is an expanded version of a handout I have distributed at high school journalism conventions to accompany a talk in which I presented ways high school newspaper staffs and advisers could create a higher quality, more professional and more avidly-read publication. At the conventions, the talk was titled “Why Nobody Reads Your Paper.” The handout had a more positive title, “How to Get People to Read Your Paper.” The blurb next to the session title in the convention’s printed program promised those who attended the talk that they would learn how to make the very next issue of their paper “more interesting, relevant, timely, consequential and journalistically impressive” than the one they just published. I make the same promise to you.

The handout’s 40 items, and the additional 21 in this version, appear here in boldface, each followed by comments that amplify them, as they did during my talk. The comments here are brief, as they were at my talk, leaving staffs and advisers much to discuss and expand upon in the journalism classroom or at staff meetings.

Before we begin, I want to make the most important point of all: High school journalists cannot practice good journalism unless they read quality professional journalism every day and study newspapers as closely as a botanist studies flowers. High school newspaper advisers cannot inculcate and foster in their students the principles and practices of good journalism unless they criticially read quality professional journalism every day.
Let’s begin.
1. High schools are exciting, vibrant places. Your paper should reflect that in what it says about people, events and issues. Every high school is filled with joy, sadness, achievement, failure, disappointment, hope, controversy, striving, illness, recovery, love, friendship, ambition, adventure, discovery, longing, enjoyment, anger, criticism, experiences, talent, creativity and achievement, to name just a few of the elements of life everyone encounters or experiences there. And let’s not forget learning, the main reason schools exist and, interestingly, an aspect of school rarely reported on in school newspapers.

2. The most important ingredient in producing a lively, interesting, significant, effective, memorable and well-read newspaper is a staff whose diversity represents the diversity of your student body. The wider the diversity of a newspaper’s staff, the wider its readership and the more interesting its content. Make it as easy and as comfortable as possible for students to join your staff, and eliminate whatever barriers prevent that from occurring. (See the separate files on the Journalism page of this Web site titled, “A Pledge for Diversity” and “Why Have Racial, Ethnic and Religious Diversity On the School Newspaper Staff?”)

3. In as many ways as you can in your paper, help build a feeling of community in your school. A major goal of your paper should be to help make your school into a community, and to make everyone in your school feel a part of that community.

4. Appeal to a cross-section of the entire school population in your coverage. At a convention of daily newspaper editors, the editor of a major paper said to his audience, "A newspaper that does not look like a cross section of the community it serves will not, and cannot, serve that community as it wants to be served." Some students do not read the school paper because they do not consider it their paper. This is not a difficult situation to change. Be sure that the topics, issues, controversies, events and photos found in your paper reflect the presence in your school of its wide variety of groups and individuals.
5. For articles with topics that relate to all grades, reporters should interview a cross-section of the school’s population so that quotes, photos, opinions and information representing all groups appear in the paper. Reporters should not be allowed to interview friends unless those friends have information available from no one else.
6. Don’t limit your staff to juniors and seniors. The most vibrant school newspapers have staff members from every school level, all of whom offer different perspectives interests and strengths. Restricting staff membership to juniors and seniors means losing freshmen and sophomores who will make your paper, and your staff, more complete, varied and exciting. It also means denying freshmen and sophomores opportunities for social, creative and intellectual growth and satisfaction.
7. Print articles of particular concern to large groups. Every issue should have at least one front-page article the editors assume will be of high interest to all readers; and, on the front page or inside, one article geared specifically to readers in each grade. A kicker above the headline can say Senior News, Junior News, etc., allowing for a headline that need not include the name of the grade.

8. But also print stories you think may appeal to relatively few people.

Don’t worry that they will have a small audience; readers love newspapers that satisfy their special interests. But keep in mind, too, that well-headlined, well-written and entertaining articles are read by a lot of people you wouldn't think had an interest in them.

9. Place your most important stories on page one, regardless of the subject.

Look at previous page ones. Do they really contain page-one material? Are your inside pages hiding page-one stories? There’s no reason why a sports, feature story, review, or any other kind of story that you deem page-one material shouldn’t go there.

10. Try to have at least one page-one news story about an event occurring immediately before or after publication time. Just one timely story like that enhances the paper’s immediacy and vitality. It could be, for example, an article about an upcoming school event, a holiday or vacation, a student government election or a test week.
11. Go ahead, jump stories from page one. Don’t worry about their being too long. Let their importance dictate their length. Respect your readers’ interest, intelligence and attention span. Don’t be superficial or unthorough out of a fear of losing them. If a news story is really important or complex, how can it be brief? Think of your reporters and photographers, too: Longer page-one pieces allow them to write more thorough and interesting stories and get more photos published. And don’t forget the participants in stories; especially if there’s controversy, they deserve the room to present their side. A major advantage of jumps is that they allow room for more stories on page one.
12. Avoid placing a jumped story at the top of an inside page when you can use that valuable real estate to begin a new story. Begin a jumped story not just with “continued from page 1,” but with a headline over it similar to its page-one headline. If a jumped story takes up an entire inside page, or a large part of it, give it an attractive layout, avoiding a large field of gray type by adding subheads, pull quotes, graphics and photos.

13. Have at least one front-page article that reveals interesting, relevant and significant news to most readers, something that will make them think, “Gee, I didn’t know that.” Also, on page one, try for at least one bright and lively story.

14. You can’t have front-page news if you don’t have a front page with news. Taking up the entire front page with a photo diminishes the newspaper’s impact and dilutes the significance of what you consider your most important news. In fact, in planning a newspaper whose front page is a full-page photo, the editors can’t even talk about page one news, or the interest, excitement, significance and impact their page-one news will have on readers. And your reporters can never write what is literally a front-page story. Is a big photo worth that?

15. News and feature stories call for journalistic writing, and should not be written like essays, term papers, brochures or newsletters. Those kinds of writing are the biggest obstacles to a lively, interesting and readable newspaper. The best way to learn journalistic writing, whether news, feature, sports, reviewing, opinion writing or editorials, is to read a good professional daily paper — every day.
16. All the items appearing in a school paper — news and features, opinion columns, reviews and editorials — should be uniformly well edited. None should reflect weak writing because of weak editing It’s up to the editors, copy editors and the adviser to see that each item meets the paper’s standards of journalistic writing before it is published. When an article that is handed in needs revising, the writer should be asked to improve it and hand it in again, or work on it with an editor, copy editor or the adviser. After the second hand-in it’s up to the editors, copy editors and the adviser to put it in presentable shape, making it as grammatically and journalistically correct, clear, complete, concise, well styled and free of editorializing (in the case of news and feature articles) as they can. Try very hard to acquire at least one great copy editor.

17. Don’t separate news and feature articles on different pages. Newspapers are livelier and brighter when news and feature articles appear on the same pages, if by features one means human interest or “people” stories. Many school newspapers have separate pages labeled “News” and “Features,” separating hard news stories from human interest stories. But human interest stories are news, too, and shouldn’t be categorized as in another journalistic realm. I’ve seen many cleverly-written, interesting or colorful articles grouped on pages marked “Features” simply because they’re cleverly-written, interesting or colorful, qualities that can be as true of news stories as they can be of features. By separating news and features, a student newspaper implies that while its news stories are informative and important, its features are engaging and lively but not very significant. A school newspaper’s articles on bicycle repair and iPOD ratings are definitely feature articles (daily newspapers call them “service” articles) and belong on a separate page from news. But human interest and people stories, which is what many school papers seem to consider “feature” articles, are indeed news — softer news than locker room thefts and student government elections, but news nevertheless — and should be part of your paper’s news mix. Do that for a livelier and more stimulating paper.

18. News and feature stories must be free of editorializing, defined simply as inserting the writer’s opinion — no matter how benign or generally true it may seem — into a news or feature story. Once you editorialize, you compromise the integrity of your newswriting and reveal to readers who know better that the writers and editors are unaware that they are not supposed to do that.
19. Brief humorous, ironic or newsy anecdotes can be among the most well-read items in your paper. In every school there are interesting and informative little occurrences that may never be thought of as newspaper material because they’re not important enough to warrant an article by themselves. However, gathered under one general heading, like “Here and There,” and separated by subheads or bullets, they will undergo a transformation, enhancing your paper’s liveliness, color and personality, and become among the most popular parts of your paper. A new dimension of news possibilities for your staff opens when they know there’s a place in the paper for a 10-line item about a teacher’s off-the-wall assignment, a one-hour boiler room breakdown, a student’s broken arm, or even a funny remark overheard in the hallway. Everyone on the staff can be assigned to bring in two of these for every issue — not necessaily finished pieces of work — and one staff member can serve as the collection’s editor, choosing and editing the items for a lively little collection in each issue of your paper.

20. Write real news and feature stories about clubs. Most school papers give clubs scant attention, writing dry paragraphs on a clubs page about what they do and when they meet. That’s not fair. Your paper’s responsibility is to write interestingly about school activities of all kinds, to report on what they do and why people enjoy being members. Reporters should have to come up with something interesting about a club’sactivities, events and members, which can only happen when they attend club meetings and events, and interview club members and their advisers.

21. Have strong news leads. Use blind leads when the "what" is more important than the "who," and to attract readership. Study all kinds of leads in professional dailies. Don’t begin with a date: “On February 15, the yo-yo club won the state championships.” Don’t begin with a question: “Ever wonder what goes on in the chem lab?” Leads must relate to the articles they begin and not be generalized, vapid or uninformative, as we see with leads like, “The spring musical is approaching fast” and “The new semester brings in new students.”
22. Have an abundance of direct quotes in your paper — anywhere from a few to many in every news and feature article — beginning high up in the story, usually no later than the third or fourth paragraph, but rarely in the first paragraph, which should be reserved for the reporter’s news or feature opening. Direct quotes bring exactness, vitality, sound, color, voice and personality to newswriting. Look at the stories in your daily paper and you'll see how often direct quotes appear. Try this: Take a bright colored felt-tip pen and underline all the direct quotes in your paper and see what the paper looks like after that. It should be peppered throughout with colorful ink.
23. Most photos should show people doing things, not posing, although posed photos may be used when juduciously chosen. In general, poses are static; action pictures are alive and interesting. Concentrate on faces and hands. A photo in which a face is partially covered may be more interesting, striking, powerful or touching than one with a whole face. Next to the face, hands are the most expressive part of the body. Note the part hands play in daily news photos.
24. All photos must have captions.

25. Some stories can be told with just a photo and a caption, without an accompanying news or feature story. That’s a helpful thing to know when you need a photo to dress up or give design balance to a page. For example, run photos, with captions only, of students and teachers arriving at school on snowy and rainy days, or lolling, talking, reading or writing on campus on lovely days.

26. Look through daily newspapers for stories you can localize and use background information from. Remember to credit the newspapers whose information you use, as well as the sources that the newspapers used.
27. Make emotion and human drama an integral part of your newspaper’s content, in news, features, columns, editorials and photos. Emotion, expressed by people and described by reporters, is almost completely absent from most student papers, yet it’s a vital component of daily newspapers. Find out what’s been happening in the lives of your school’s students and staff. Many of them have had dramatic personal experiences recently, or witnessed dramatic events. Schools are great sources for stories like these, and it's a shame to see most of them go untapped. Emotion also appears in comments and views on controversial issues. (See the separate section of this Web site’s Journalism page titled “Getting News and Feature Stories with Emotional Content into Your Newspaper.” )
28. News articles should have headlines, not labels. Headlines tell a concise little story; labels are headings and usually lack a verb, which is the word that gives a headline its life. This label appeared over a news story: “Classnight 2009.” A front page article in another paper was headlined (or , should we say, labeled) “Alcohol Awareness Month.”

Lifeless, yes?

Headlines will always look and sound awkward when “and” is replaced by a comma, as in “Funds for Senior Trip Raised with Cake Sales, Car Washes,” or “Cake Sales, Car Washes Raise Funds for Senior Trip, Although many professional daily papers style some headlines that way, they are nevertheless clumsy attempts at conciseness; there’s always a better way. If “Cake Sales and Car Washes Raise Funds for Spring Trip” doesn’t work, there’s “Cake Sales and Car Washes Raise Funds for Trip.” In cases like this, lacking the space for “and” doesn’t excuse using a comma instead.

29. Before publishing articles whose news has become old or outdated, update them to give them timeliness upon publication. News can become quite stale when articles are written and handed in weeks before publication. You can't blame readers if they get turned off by an article with news they already know. The answer is to update the news stories you are about to publish, when more current news is available.
Let's say the student government election took place in June, and your paper's first issue comes out the third week in September. By that time, everybody knows who won, and you want fresh news for your readers. That requires printing an updated story, starting with what has happened since the election. For example: "Student government president Gerry Smith is finding it harder than she imagined to change the school’s detention system. Smith, who was elected in June, had made revisions in detention rules a campaign promise, and she says he’s not about to give up." Another paragraph about that topic would follow, then news about the vote count, remarks by the winners and losers after the election, and other earlier information. Then back to detention and other things Gerry Smith is doing.
30. Brackets don’t belong in newswriting. Brackets may be necessary in term papers and other academic writing to clarify material quoted from other published works and documents. In newswriting, though, they’re a distraction, hinder the flow of words, and look awful. The brackets in school newspaper articles — appearing almost always in quoted material — are always unnecessary. If a direct quote is unclear, the solution is not to insert clarifying words within brackets but to put between quotation marks the words that require them and to paraphrase the rest.

31. Ellipses don’t belong in newswriting either. Ellipses are properly used when indicating words omitted from a document, and incorrectly used to indicate words dropped from a quotation in a news story. As The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage says, under “quotations”: If a subject’s grammar or taste is unsuitable, quotation marks should be removed and the awkward passage paraphrased.” Otherwise, “close the quotation, insert a new atrribution and begin another quotation.”

32. Care more about what your paper says than about the way it looks. Don’t go wild with graphics and typography. Decoration, no; design that complements the text, yes. Less is more — a crisp, orderly, neat layout is an admirable achievement all by itself. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to be tastefully and smartly artful and to be creative with design, graphics and typography. But never forget that in a newspaper, art and design must serve text, and not the reverse. Excellence in reporting, interviewing, writing and photojournalism is paramount.
33. Don’t obscure text by covering it with art. Don’t place text on a color that makes it hard to read, or use colored type that’s hard on the eyes. Keep overzealous art people on your staff from overwhelming your writers’ efforts simply because they have the resources to do so.
34. Don’t indulge in layout envy. Don’t be overly impressed or intimidated by school papers whose layouts, computer-enhanced design and number of pages seem awesome and inimitable. Keep this in mind: You’re doing journalism. Some papers dazzle with their graphics, layout and art. But is their writing equally dazzling? Publish a crisp-looking, well-organized, well-written paper and you will have a superior product.
35. Don’t place stories of past extracurricular events on page one unless they are of major interest. The school play may have been terrific, but that it was presented is not, in most cases, front-page news. A front-page photo of a play scene, however, with a reference in the caption to the page it’s on inside the paper, will direct readers to the story and highlight its prominence as a school event. A sports photo on the front page will serve a similar purpose.

36. Prominent and singular school and outside events that are going to happen are front-page news. Senior trips, school plays, student government elections and graduation are events that fall under the “prominent and singular” category. News about them before they occur builds ticket sales and participation, increases excitement and enthusiasm (even among the participants) and promotes school spirit and a sense of community. It adds momentum to the event and timeliness to the newspaper. Above all, news about upcoming events is information readers can use. It’s about things they don’t know, and it could have an impact on their lives.

37. Don’t just report on the school play, review it and run at least one feature. In addition to a news story about the play, critique the performance. It's a really professional approach to your readers, to the cast and crew, and to the art of drama, as well. (But be prepared for complaints about even the most gentle critique.) Your review criteria should take into consideration the fact that you are writing about students, not professionals. Your paper should still have a news story about the play, but make that interesting, too; don’t simply describe the plot and name the people who were in it. Include interviews with the director, performers and backstage people. In a separate story you can profile a cast member or backstage person.
38. Label all reviews with a kicker above (and usually to the left of) the headline that says “Review.” And, if you feel it’s necessary, explain — in an italicized note before the review begins — that it is the opinion of the writer only. This prevents some readers from thinking that what they’re reading is a news article or the opinion of the paper, rather than one person’s evaluation.
39. Don’t place stories about award winners on page one unless the award is significant. Intel and other big national contests, yes. City and state winners of anything, yes. The editors and adviser must judge whether an award qualifies as front-page news. It’s possible, though, that after interviewing the winner of even a seemingly insignificant award, a story may emerge worthy of page one.

But why do students have to win awards to be thought of as story material? There are many students in your school who haven’t won anything, but whose jobs, interests, lifestyles, families, accomplishments and life experiences are worth writing about. And teachers, too, in all those categories. I'm not suggesting you ignore award winners. In fact, I think stories about them should be longer than they usually are, but they should be well-rounded portraits of the whole person and not just his or her academic acomplishments.

40. Review movies, TV programs, concerts, albums and books of appeal to your readers. Among the best-read items in school papers are reviews of concerts by students who attended them, written so readers feel that they were there.
41. A humor column is a great asset to a school newspaper, but it must be written with taste, civility and sensitivity.

42. Make student government news an important and regular ingredient of your paper. What does student government mean in your school? What has it done for your school that students and teachers consider meaningful? Is it a joke? Have there been irregularities in student government elections? (There always are.) Does the administration effectively limit the student government from initiating certain activities or school improvements? Are the school's student government constitution and bylaws being adhered to? How can you make your student government more responsive and more responsible?

The best way to get an inefficient, apathetic or useless student government to become a meaningful body is for the school paper to do its duty as watchdog and gadfly. Treat the student government, in your paper, as though it really does mean something. See “Covering Student Government” on this Web site’s Journalism page for story and coverage ideas.
43. Don’t write mostly about news that falls into your lap; go out and find interesting, timely and significant stories. Show enterprise, like finding out from the entire variety of people in school — students, teachers, custodial staff, administrators, everybody — what’s on their mind, what their plans are, what their gripes are, what they’ve been doing and noticing, what stories or story ideas they have for you.

You won’t get many good stories if you wait for them to come to you. Walk around the school building and the neighborhood. Keep your eyes and ears open. Have that nose for news. And even if you do, the most dramatic stories that come your way will be unexpected, events that happen without warning, no different from what occurs in the world of professional journalism. That’s not news dropped on your lap; it’s news dropped on your head.

44. Place a notice in each issue of your paper asking for story suggestions, and a monthly note in teachers’ mailboxes asking for story ideas — graduates they’re in touch with who might make interesting stories; talks in their classroom by visiting speakers that can be covered by reporters; students who would make interesting stories.

45. Go through other school papers for story ideas. One high school paper’s report of a school problem or issue often means it exists in other schools as well, including yours, although you may not be aware of it. The idea for an article about a situation in your school may come, actually, only after you have seen an article about it in another school paper. Call or e-mail other school newspaper editors or advisers whose papers you receive to ask questions and exchange ideas. Take home school papers from journalism conferences you attend and get on their exchange lists.
46. When reporting on an issue or problem in your school, put it in perspective by comparing and contrasting it with that situation in other schools nearby or far away. Professional dailies do that in articles ranging from their city’s crime, unemployment or poverty rates, to the acreage of public parks, to just about any other topic that can be placed in perspective for readers. Other schools’ information can be gathered from their newspapers and by phoning and e-mailing their editors, advisers and administators. Use friends and relatives in other schools as contacts and liaisons. Visit other schools, and see what they're like.

47. Allow your imaginative, enterprising, interesting and passionate writers to follow their news and feature writing interests. Encourage them to come to you with ideas and they will come with them, some obvious, some creative, some weird. Never dismiss a story idea without giving it some consideration. No matter how unusable you think an idea is when you first hear it, ask for more explanation, then say something like, “Hmm, interesting. Let me think about it, O.K.?” Doing that 1) gives you an opportunity to reflect on the idea, no matter how unusable it seemed at first, and perhaps be able to develop it into something usable. 2) gives the staff member an opportunity to refine the idea. 3) allows an ultimate turndown of the idea to come after you have at least shown the staff member that you’ve given it thought. 4) keeps staff members from feeling they might as well not bother coming to you with ideas. And keep this in mind: If someone is excited about an idea, why not let them pursue it and see what happens. One caution: Students pursuing their own story ideas should also cover stories assigned by the editor.

48. Encourage freeedom of style in feature writing, but emphasize that feature stories demand the same truth and accuracy as news stories. Editors and advisers should encourage writers to experiment with writing styles.
49. Minimize opinion columns; maximize news. Use opinion columns sparingly, and to clarify issues, not for writers to let off steam. That's too easy. Most readers want news, be it hard or soft. News has far greater impact than opinion, regardless of the topic. Action and change are brought about almost always by news stories, not by opinion columns, not by editorials and not by letters to the editor. Opinion columns should not be written off the tops of writers’ heads, or be controversial just for the sake of controversy. A columnist's most important purpose is to bring clarity to issues, to say to readers, "Look, this is what all this really means," or "This is how you should be looking at this situation." And urge your columnists to write about something that appears in that issue of the newspaper, not a topic readers are hearing about for the first time or one based on something in the previous issue, unless the columnist reiterates that topic for the reader within the column along with commenting on it.

50. Report on things that are bothering people. Deal with unfairness, injustice and rumors. Remember that people on opposing sides of an issue must be interviewed – or an attempt made to do so. Articles about conflict and controversy should be a part of a school newspaper’s coverage, but the reporting must be fair and balanced. How do you find out what’s bothering or upsetting people? By urging everyone on the newspaper staff to keep their eyes and ears open. Another good way to find out what’s bothering people: Ask.

51. Go after the people responsible for making bad, unfair, stupid, hurtful, insulting, inefficient or degrading policies, practices or rules. Who or what is being stepped on? Report on it; in editorials comment on it. Most students can’t or won’t fight the system. Fight it for them.

52. Use letters to the editor as springboards for news stories. Don’t despair about not receiving letters to the editor. Few school papers ever get any. No matter how significant. or controversial a school paper’s stories are, few students respond to them in writing. If you see a whole page of them in another school’s paper, they were, almost certainly, assigned by a teacher. The few letters you receive may be better used as the basis for news or feature stories than run as letters.
53. Follow up problems, controversies and other news from one issue to the next.

This is rarely done in school papers. When an issue is published, it seems as though the news slate is wiped clean. A serious newspaper doesn’t abandon an ongoing situation after one story.

54. Don’t be the school’s public relations organ and don’t be the administration’s spokesperson. The school's image is not your responsibility. The accuracy with which your paper reflects it is. If your paper’s coverage is fair and balanced, your school’s positive sides will show through in every issue.
55. Regardless of what you think will be popular with readers, do not compromise your journalistic taste, judgment or integrity to please them, such as having a horoscope or Dear Abby-type advice column because you think it will be popular.

56. The day after the paper comes out, hand out a survey in a cross-section of classes (freshman, sophomore, etc.) with a list of its headlines, to determine what people have read. Ask students to check what they liked, didn't like, skipped, read all or most of. Ask them for suggestions and story ideas. Ask what they think the paper should be covering that it’s not? Everyone knows teachers who would give a few minutes of class time for this. You can also do this orally, taking a little more time with the class. If the teacher asks them to read the paper the night before your visit, to prepare for it, however, you’ll receive even more valuable feedback

57. Hold staff meetings to evaluate your past issue. Did you have an interesting and meaningful mix of items? Was the writing lively? Did you deal with issues and events that affect readers’ lives; with topics that make readers think, or that answer their questions? Did your paper reveal things that readers ought to know? Did it announce change? Would your readers have missed something important if the paper had not come out?
58. Announce forthcoming issues of the paper over the public address system, bulletin boards or school Web site.
59. Avoid publishing on a Friday or the day before a holiday. Bring your paper out when readers have at least one school day afterward to react to it. For the same reason, it’s better to distribute a paper at the beginning of the day rather than at the end.
60. Don’t put the newspaper-distribution burden on homeroom or subject-class teachers. Distribution should be the staff’s responsibility, and not left to anyone else. After all the time and work put into the paper — the assigning, the reporting, the writing and rewriting, the editing, the layout, the ad selling — no one but the staff should be relied upon to get it into the hands of readers.
When you see empty classrooms with papers left on teachers' desks, it's not a sign that students didn’t want your paper; it's a sign that they weren't handed one. Not being individually handed a copy of your paper may be the major reason why students don't read it. They can't read it if they don't have it.

To insure that almost everyone in school gets a paper on publication day, have staff members stationed at every school entrance to hand out papers to students entering the building. The next day, a public address announcement can tell students absent the day before where they can pick up a paper.

If delivery to classrooms is the only way to distribute, have staff members who bring the papers to the home rooms ask a student in each room to personally hand everyone a copy.

Don’t leave sets of papers in home room teachers' mailboxes; the teacher or her substitute may not pick them up.
As soon as distribution begins, have a copy delivered to the principal's office, both as a courtesy, and so he or she will be familiar with its contents if someone comes to talk or complain about something in it. When distribution to students begins, papers should be placed in faculty and other employees’ mailboxes.
61. Using the highest professional journalistic practices, do whatever you can to bring about needed change in your school. Your newspaper can make a difference.
High school journalism carries with it the same responsibilities as professional journalism.
Your mission — your most professional responsibility — is to publish a paper that truly serves your readers.
Inform them. Enlighten them. Help them to cope. Look out for them.
That's your mission.
Create a paper that you hope will make a difference in their lives.
Have a vision of where you want your paper to go, and what you want it to be, and seek that vision every day.

© 2009 by Robert Greenman. This material is available without charge to teachers and students at all levels for their personal and classroom use.

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