The Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism has announced a partnership with the newly formed Scholastic Journalism Institute, a think tank created to address issues facing scholastic journalism. The journalism school will host meetings of Scholastic Journalism Institute (SJI), provide management support and seek collaborative projects with Reynolds School faculty members.
“High school is the critical time to nourish students' interest in journalism. Unfortunately, programs across the country are threatened by shrinking resources,” said Jerry Ceppos, Reynolds School dean. "Our goal is to help educators and administrators protect scholastic journalism, offer professional development for advisers and enrich the academic experience for high school students."
A Newspaper Association of America 2008 study reported that students who work on high school newspapers and yearbooks get better grades in high school, earn higher ACT scores, and get better grades as college freshmen.
SJI is comprised of six members and each will serve two year terms.
SJI founder Mark Newton, master journalism educator and high school newspaper and yearbook adviser with 27 years' experience, is joined by Michelle Balmeo of Cupertino, Calif., Michelle Coro of Phoenix, Aaron Manfull of St. Louis, Steve O’Donoghue of Sacramento and Kathy Schrier of Seattle. All are current or retired high school publications advisers.
“We have brought together outstanding experienced and emerging journalism teachers and empowered them to address scholastic journalism issues,” said Newton, a teacher at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch, Colo. “It's challenging to narrow our focus while so many significant issues need to be explored. Initially, we will address the reduction or elimination of journalism programs in schools because it's essential to student success."
“Scholastic journalism is threatened like no time in recent memory. Courses are disappearing in every state. This is an effort to mobilize advisers to advocate more effectively for their programs,” said O’Donoghue, director of the California Journalism Institute, an organization that promotes high school journalism. “The Reynolds School of Journalism is a significant partner in this initiative.”
“This is a wonderful addition to the Reynolds School high school portfolio,” Ceppos said. “We began a regional high-school journalism association in 2008 and have built a stable of strong programs. The Reynolds School now co-sponsors a residential boot camp for news staff and advisers for the first time last summer, educates more than 100 students at Journalism Day every year and hosts the summer ASNE Reynolds Institute for high-school journalism teachers.”
“The initiative also will tap the expertise of leaders within our profession,” said Newton. “Experienced advisers want to share their knowledge with the next generation of journalism teachers,” Newton said. “That expertise, coupled with the talent, enthusiasm and out-of-the-box way of thinking of younger advisers makes for a dynamic group ready to preserve the profession we love.”
A key component is that this initiative is a two-year commitment.
“We want the benefit of time to explore an issue in-depth, but not the entrenched inflexibility of the long-term status quo where there is no sense of urgency,” Newton said. “Creating opportunities for participation and for solving long-pressing issues is a must for the good of our profession.”
The inaugural group will present the SJI model and its first white paper at the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 11-14.