Why is it important to you to connect with other scholastic journalism programs?
Most teachers have a team or professional learning community (PLC) that help to develop lesson plans, bounce around ideas, analyze data, etc. Most of the time, journalism advisers are a department of 1, working on student publications alone.
Thankfully, there are ton of resources out there, but when you’re just starting out, you may not even know where to look. Partnering with other advisers can really help when you need a resource, want to crowdsource opinions, or just need to vent.
It also opens up your resource pool. I know I’ve swapped photos with other advisers many times! Ideally, published photos have all been taken by the student staff, but sometimes you just don’t get the right shot. One time, my kids needed a photo of a particular cross country runner, but realized they didn’t have a full-body photo. I emailed another adviser (who lived an hour away!) and she sent back the PERFECT photo right away.
Additionally, building relationships with other journalism departments in your area can be beneficial to your students. Working with other local programs gives your staff the opportunity to practice an important real-world skill: networking. You never know where those relationships may lead!
It can also be a great recruiting tool. I know of one high school adviser that intentionally builds a relationship with the advisers at the feeder middle schools. Once per year, they attend each other’s photo events. For example, the middle school students shadow the high school journalists at a football game and learn from them. Then, the high schoolers attend a middle school event to help them practice what they learned. It ends up creating better photos for the middle school publication, and creates a welcoming environment for the middle schooler to looks forward to joining once they’re in high school. That’s exciting – and eeeaaasy recruiting!