The Reynolds School of Journalism hosted a two-week intensive training session for 33 high-school teachers from July 15 through the 27. The Reynolds High School Journalism Institute, as it is officially named, is part of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) training programs to help high-school teachers become better journalism advisers.
ASNE received a $2.3 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to hold these sessions for several years at three different locations throughout the country.
"This is a significant honor for the journalism school and validates our efforts to prepare teachers and students for the future of journalism," said Rosemary McCarthy, interim dean. "The training curriculum will encourage scholastic journalism advisers to explore the impact of ideas, trends, technology and diversity."
Topics at the sessions included reporting, writing, editing, photojournalism, layout and design, journalistic ethics, the future of daily newspapers and business-side skills. First Amendment matters, privacy and the state of scholastic press freedoms were also key topics.
The teachers are also received hands-on experience with various computer programs and they managed their own website: Reno411.org, which was unveiled July 27 as the training program wrapped up.
"The teachers did a tremendous job," said Deidre Pike, journalism instructor and director of the institute. "Some had never taken journalistic photos or written for online media."
Pike said the teachers were enthusiastic about learning a lot of new material.
"All of them really care about journalism and want to help their students out."
Sandy Essien, an English teacher from an East St. Louis Charter School, made the trip out to gain experience in the journalism field and improve her teaching methods.
"My students knew I did not know that much about producing a school newspaper," said Essien. "Now, I learned things that I can pass on to my students and our school newspaper will be better."
The teachers also got to visit the Reno Gazette-Journal where they sat in on a news meeting and learned about the future of the newspaper industry.
"Sitting in on the meeting was extremely helpful," said Essien. "I have an idea of how things should be conducted back home."
ASNE hopes that these sessions will enable and energize the teachers to help students start a campus newspaper, make an existing publication better and enhance their teaching in areas that include journalism, English, social studies and civics.
More than 100 teachers were selected for this year's program and the grant covered all their expenses.
Pike said she looks forward to hearing about the instructors using their newly acquired skills in the classroom.
"Their students may not go on to be journalists but they will have acquired a better understanding of the relationship between the media and the informed citizenry."