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Starting a High School Newspaper

 
 
Eva
 
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 12:25 pm
Yeah, me.

Shocked

The high school students at my son's school wanted to start a school newspaper. It's a small private school. They have a couple of excellent English instructors, but neither of them knew how to start a publication. So I offered to help.

"Helping" has quickly turned into teaching a regular class three days a week! I didn't know I would be in charge! I have no teaching credentials, just loads of publication experience. This is truly a first for me.

This is my third week. So far, I have covered some journalism basics, organizing and recruiting staff, securing resources from the administration, and establishing a production schedule for the semester.
(No wonder I haven't been around A2K much.)

This week they will begin producing a trial issue before launching into a regular publication cycle.

I can use all the tips and advice I can get!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 17,779 • Replies: 127
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 12:43 pm
Brava!

(No advice...)
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 01:01 pm
I would guess that many HS newspapers are online nowadays. College papers also. Take a look at what they're doing and tailor to fit your school's particular needs.

hope this is what you meant by tips and such... Rolling Eyes

I think it's great what you're doing. brava indeed!
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 01:10 pm
While it's very considerate of you to worry about your teaching credentials, nothing I read in your descriptions suggests that you ran into any problems teaching. For all I can tell, you are doing fine!

Paper-writing, paper-layouting, and paper editing is best learned by doing. Your students are about to get to the "doing" part. It should be downhill from there. Just let them experiment, let them make their mistakes, and perhaps correct them. But beyond that, I really have no advice. Again, I think you're doing fine. Have fun!
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blacksmithn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 01:15 pm
I took journalism class in high school and another in junior college and both those instructors, presumably licensed and fully credentialed, couldn't teach their way out of a paper bag. It sounds like you're doing just fine to me, but keep in mind that-- journalistically speaking-- I'm barely tutored!

So, bottom line, no help for you here either beyond a hearty handshake for your efforts.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 01:52 pm
Some things to consider:

If any school facilities or assets are used in or involved with the production of the paper, the school likely has an enforceable claim to content approval and control.

Even if the production is entirely separate from school facilities, assets, or personnel, the school, being private, all but no doubt has full and exclusive copyright to the school's proper name.

Privacy, slander and libel laws apply to any publication; be sure of sound footing before publishing any accusations or engaging in the "Naming of names."
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NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 01:53 pm
Does the high school have any good writers? I would imagine you'll be the one doing the editing and there'll be plenty of it...
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 02:01 pm
Sounds like you are doing just fine. Most of your work will be editing, for style, content, grammar, length. Consider your son lucky that he doesn't attend a school which puts its bottom level students in journalism!
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 02:14 pm
eoe wrote:
I would guess that many HS newspapers are online nowadays. College papers also. Take a look at what they're doing and tailor to fit your school's particular needs.


That was one of the first questions I asked them....online or print. They want a print version. I plan to have them save it as a PDF and post it online, too. You're right, it is going that way. But I still suspect that it will be many years, if ever, before print newsletters will become extinct.

I have been combing the internet for examples and have found several good ones. I've also brought in printed copies of the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, USAToday, and several other major papers. One of my stated objectives is to emulate the best in the commercial press. I know, I know, that's awfully ambitious for high school, but why lift ideas from anything but the best?
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 02:17 pm
Thomas wrote:
While it's very considerate of you to worry about your teaching credentials, nothing I read in your descriptions suggests that you ran into any problems teaching. For all I can tell, you are doing fine!

Paper-writing, paper-layouting, and paper editing is best learned by doing. Your students are about to get to the "doing" part. It should be downhill from there. Just let them experiment, let them make their mistakes, and perhaps correct them. But beyond that, I really have no advice. Again, I think you're doing fine. Have fun!


Well, I have passed my first big test with the students. But something tells me there will be many more down this road. It's not newspaper publishing that I'm insecure about. I know that. It's teaching.

But I AM having fun!
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 02:26 pm
timberlandko wrote:
Some things to consider:

If any school facilities or assets are used in or involved with the production of the paper, the school likely has an enforceable claim to content approval and control.


Absolutely, and rightly so. I have insisted they get approval from the administration at two points during each cycle. First at the article planning stage, so they will know if something is "off limits" before the article is written, and second, before the final printing. The school is paying for the printing, which puts it in the role of publisher and gives it ultimate veto power. Also, this is an elective course, so it is a school-sponsored publication.

Quote:
Privacy, slander and libel laws apply to any publication; be sure of sound footing before publishing any accusations or engaging in the "Naming of names."


That hasn't come up yet, but you're right. It might. I'd better have them read that section of the AP Stylebook in detail. (scribbling notes) Good advice, timber! Any more suggestions?
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 02:31 pm
NickFun wrote:
Does the high school have any good writers?


Good question. I guess I will find out! I have already asked the English instructors for the names of their best writers. We are recruiting them now.

Quote:
I would imagine you'll be the one doing the editing and there'll be plenty of it...


Probably at first, although part of my job is to teach them how to write in journalistic style, and also how to copy edit each others' work (peer review.) I think they will learn more that way than if I do it all.

(crossing fingers that it works)
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 02:32 pm
I was part of the paper staff in high school (Catholic school; 1960s; award winning paper) and at that time, certain sorts of articles were considered declasse, like the old, "Orchards and Onions" type column. As far as I can see, no one ever does any "naming of names."
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 02:41 pm
plainoldme wrote:
Sounds like you are doing just fine. Most of your work will be editing, for style, content, grammar, length. Consider your son lucky that he doesn't attend a school which puts its bottom level students in journalism!


This is an elective course, so anyone can participate. All levels of ability. But we are recruiting good writers (see above.)

I made a deal with the class. It is my job to run the class, but it's their job to run the newspaper. So THEY will be the ones deciding content and length. It's their job to fill the page. And they are ultimately responsible for the content that is printed. Bottom line: it is their paper.

I will be double-checking for style and grammar after their copy editing sessions, and so will one of the English teachers. I will also be teaching the layout person about newspaper format and proofing the graphic art.

Does that sound workable?
0 Replies
 
eoe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 03:09 pm
plainoldme wrote:
I was part of the paper staff in high school (Catholic school; 1960s; award winning paper)


Me too. I wrote the music column in my Senior year.

It definitely sounds like you're getting your ducks in a row, Eva.
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 05:46 pm
Well, that is encouraging. Thank you!

I was NOT on the staff of my high school or college paper. In fact, I have never had a single journalism class in my entire life.

It was something I learned on the job. I started out as a graphic artist, then developed writing and business skills from freelancing for many years. I do more writing than design these days.

Fortunately for me, this school values real life experience.
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 06:05 pm
Big smile for Eva.
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 06:19 pm
Do not do their editing, grammar correction, or anything of the sort. Let them bump into the problems thay face and then, only then and if they ask you, get your hands on the paper.

<I>
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 07:10 pm
Oof. Really? I see your point, but that would require an almost superhuman amount of self discipline. (Mine, not the kids.) Embarrassed
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 07:12 pm
Good point, fbaezer.

Kudos for taking this on, Eva! Sounds like you're doing a great job so far.
0 Replies
 
 

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