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Starting a High School Newspaper

 
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Oct, 2006 11:57 pm
Hmm. The art of the interview could be useful right about now..
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Oct, 2006 08:35 am
As a matter of fact, I just suggested that, Osso!

One of their classmates will be performing in a local production of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" at the end of the month, and they had asked him to do a backstage article. Forty-five minutes ago, he backed out, saying he was so busy right now with rehearsals that he didn't have any extra time to write. This threw the team for a loop. (This sort of thing will happen again and again.) They were all panicking, desperately trying to think up other stories at the last minute. I suggested they stick to their original idea, just interview their classmate-the-star themselves.

And off they went.
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Oct, 2006 05:31 pm
So, Eva, has the first edition been published yet? How'd it turn out? How was it received by the student body/faculty and parents? Are they all eager to support it and keep producing it?
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Oct, 2006 09:50 pm
Oh, wow. So many stories.

First of all, yes, the first real issue was distributed Friday. We produced a practice issue two weeks before that, but it was just for the class. They wanted to see how the whole process works before going public.

We ran into some major problems at the last minute that I hadn't anticipated. Isn't that always the way? 30 minutes before our scheduled presstime, the Head of School finally got around to reading what he had previously approved and went ballistic. We had a piece of original fiction that contained some fairly graphic violence (just what I'd expected from 15-16 yr. old boys....why was this a shock?) PLUS he absolutely hated the name of the publication and insisted we change it.

All of a sudden, he declares he wants a P.R. piece. Sheesh. It's hard enough to teach teenagers journalism, never mind public relations! We definitely have to talk more about this. The kids are pretty upset...after we've repeatedly told them this is their newspaper, now we've (somewhat) taken it back. That is not good.

Anyway, I did some fancy last-minute shuffling and we managed to get out a VERY nice first issue only one day late. Not too shabby! Everyone loved it, the kids were proud, and the Head of School declared he "could live with it." And NEXT time, he will follow the procedure I set up and go over everything thoroughly.

My last day to teach for free is tomorrow. After that, they have to pay me. So we shall see......
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Oct, 2006 09:54 pm
Oh!

Best story...

After all this work, when we finally passed out the finished newspapers to everyone during lunch hour, one of the students came back into the classroom with eyes like saucers. Stuttering, he said..."Th-th-they're...READING...it! They're really READING it!!!"

It was priceless.
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Oct, 2006 10:20 pm
Big grin on my face as I read that last one. Remembering the days of my first editions. Sounds like they've received a thorough grounding in the politics of journalism with their first attempt.

I hope the decision makers can see what a great learning experience it is for the kids and view it as another tool in the school's arsenal to better communicate with kids and their families.

You really did a great job getting it off the ground. I'm amazed that you did it as an unpaid volunteer.
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Oct, 2006 11:00 pm
Thank you, but I didn't put in any more time than some other parents do on major fundraisers, etc. It's not unusual for parents to donate a couple of months on a project. This one just happened to be right up my alley.

Besides, they couldn't have offered me a contract two months ago. They had no idea what they were getting into, and neither did I. They didn't know how this would go, or even IF it would go. I told them up front that I was prepared to donate my time through the launch, because they specifically asked me to help them start a school newspaper. But if it turned into a continuing role...if that was needed, if they wanted me to do it, and if I was interested at that point...then I would have to be compensated like any other part-time instructor. They agreed then, so let's hope they live up to their word. I will find out in the next couple of days.

In tomorrow's class, we will do a critique of the first issue. They will complain that I did too much instead of letting them handle it, and I will remind them that they missed all their deadlines and didn't leave themselves time to do it all.

You see, it's not just the administration that fluffed off their responsibilities. But they are learning.

They are all learning. Cool
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NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Oct, 2006 11:39 pm
I recall my senior year writing a biting commentary in our school newspaper that was full of innuendo that only the students would get. It soon became common knowledge among the faculty as to what I was implying. It's a good thing it was our final issue for the year or I would have gotten kicked off the paper!
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Oct, 2006 12:25 am
More than forty years ago, our school paper was listed after the second edition in the state's list of school newspapers - which happened for the first time so fast.
Unfortunately, our headmaster didn't only kick me as editor in chief but ordered so many changes that the second edition was the last one as well.
(Which later lead to the fact that my first major works in law resp. journalism at university were about school newspapers Laughing )
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Oct, 2006 02:20 am
Eva wrote:
Oh!

Best story...

After all this work, when we finally passed out the finished newspapers to everyone during lunch hour, one of the students came back into the classroom with eyes like saucers. Stuttering, he said..."Th-th-they're...READING...it! They're really READING it!!!"

It was priceless.

With hindsight, it almost seems like you are qualified to teach this course, huh. Way to go Eva!
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Oct, 2006 02:06 pm
A big hug for you, Thomas! Thanks, everyone!

Today we critiqued our first issue, then began planning another. The kids were still angry, but when the editor said he was thinking of writing his next editorial on administrative hypocrisy, there was a resounding "NO!" from the entire class.

Laughing Laughing Laughing

Ah, the politics of free speech.....
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Oct, 2006 02:25 pm
NickFun wrote:
I recall my senior year writing a biting commentary in our school newspaper that was full of innuendo that only the students would get. It soon became common knowledge among the faculty as to what I was implying. It's a good thing it was our final issue for the year or I would have gotten kicked off the paper!


I wrote letters to the editor of our highschool newspaper under a fictitious name. It was part of a very elaborate scam. A group of us had created a fictitious student...planted records in the school office & counselor's office, ran a fake photo in the yearbook, even had a couple of teachers in on it who faked attendance records. The administration of our very large and troubled highschool never suspected a thing because (and here's the kicker)...Mary Ann Eberhard (named after the pink pearl erasers)...was totally, blindly supportive of the administration. Naturally, the newspaper ran every article I...I mean, Mary Ann...wrote.

We did this during the last semester of our senior year. The highlight of our graduation ceremony was when they announced Mary Ann's name and no one stepped forward. Cool Laughing

I think I shall NOT share this story with my students. <snort>
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Oct, 2006 03:01 pm
I like the idea of a fake student.

My son attended the Cambridge School of Weston and during his senior year, his school service was to create the board which had the master schedule of classes for the following year posted in the front hall of the administration building.

It is a CSW tradition to include a fake class. His was Introduction to Cosmetic Dentristy.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Oct, 2006 04:43 pm
eva--

You're earning your grey hair.

Hold your dominion.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Oct, 2006 06:42 pm
They're reading it. Best moment, I tell ya.

You're doing great, Eva.

School authorities wanting a P.R. story... now, THAT's shocking! Honestly.
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Oct, 2006 07:29 pm
More kudos to Eva and the kids. You're making a difference here, Eva, and that's what reallly matters. Good for you!
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Oct, 2006 07:49 pm
That's our Eva...

I'm starting to think about photos and such... eek, a possible thicket of questions.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Oct, 2006 07:53 pm
Has anyone followed the relatively recent hazzerai with a new owner and her newspaper in Santa Barbara, CA? Not that this is entirely related, given the situation of a high school newspaper, but interesting to me, re staff walk out.

Oh, and then there's the more recent foofuraw at the LA Times, with rebellion and, er, change of staff at the behest of the owner, the Chicago Tribune.

I'll go chanse links for these tangents in a bit.
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Oct, 2006 10:15 pm
fbaezer wrote:
...School authorities wanting a P.R. story... now, THAT's shocking! Honestly.


Sit down, fbaezer. He didn't just want a P.R. story. He wants the entire newspaper to be a P.R. piece.

Or so he says.

<shaking>
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Oct, 2006 10:17 pm
UH OH..
0 Replies
 
 

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