My journalism journey began in 8th grade, when I joined the yearbook staff on a whim. I loved designing things and just thought it would be fun. Little did I know just how much that decision would affect my life. I continued yearbook through high school, and found my way back into the classroom (but this time, as a teacher) after I graduated college and realized I wasn’t built for the cubicle life that my corporate marketing job offered.
I was a high school journalism adviser for 6 years in Katy, Texas and (with the help of some of the best kids on the planet) built an award-winning journalism program from the ground up. Although I am no longer a classroom teacher, I have remained involved in the journalism world with Organized Adviser, teaching workshops, critiquing publications, consulting… heck I’ve even jumped in as pseudo-adviser when there was an emergency.
I love scholastic journalism for a lot of reasons (and honestly I could write a novel about it), but I have two main reasons.
1️⃣ Student publications provides students with a fun way to practice a TON of real life skills – writing, leadership, production process, public speaking, interviewing, communicating with an authority figure or supervisor, marketing, design, publishing and public critique, professionalism, etc.
2️⃣ A free press is a cornerstone of our democracy. Having an informed public (and informed voters) is the only way to maintain a balance of power in government. Mainstream media in our society today is wild. Printed media is becoming harder and harder to keep alive, social media has provided a vehicle for misinformation to spread like wildfire, media outlets and professional journalists display blatant bias on all sides… it’s a mess. That’s not setting a very good example for our students. So we must continue to teach the fundamentals of quality journalism, and that begins at the high school level.