Why every journalism adviser should get their CJE/MJE

Ah, the first day back from winter break. Weary teachers fumbled out of their cars, hot coffee in hand, SO ready to be professionally developed for the eleventieth time this school year. “Holiday hangover” lingers in the air as we all prepare for kiddos to come back tomorrow. My holiday season was especially exciting, as we bought and moved into our first house, and I wouldn’t have at all minded a few more days to get things organized. But – still super appreciative of that sweet, much needed two weeks off.

My morning to-do list included emailing my staff and parents with new deadlines, reminders, and encouragement. Checking my mailbox. Grades due at noon. Update calendars. Change email password. Update email signature.

Katie Moreno, CJE

I never thought I’d have a credential that would afford an acronym attached to my name. But those three little letters name are hard-earned recognition of everything I’ve learned and accomplished as a journalism adviser, and I’m so proud of that.

I took the CJE test at the Fall 2018 JEA/NSPA Convention in Chicago. I’ll be honest – I finished with exactly ONE minute to spare – and walked out feeling like passing it was a 50/50. I knew my stuff, had already passed my state’s certification test, and I kind of thought it would have similar questions. I studied the slideshows, made flashcards for stuff I was having trouble remembering (hello, court cases!), and went to the study session beforehand. Despite all that, it wasn’t easy.

But you know what? It shouldn’t be. If every single person who ever took it passed, it wouldn’t hold any significance.

Getting the email that I passed was super exciting and changing my email signature to reflect my new credential was a 30-second-dance-party-worthy moment.

Why does it matter to have a journalism educator credential?

It’s not just padding for my resume – it’s proof that I am knowledgeable in my field of teaching scholastic journalism and media advising and validates the credibility of the program at my school. 

Certification will demonstrate that you are qualified to teach journalism and validate the credibility of your program to administrators, parents, fellow teachers, students and others. It will recognize your commitment to journalistic training and provide tangible evidence of your qualifications to remain in journalism education. It recognizes journalism teaching and advising as an academic field worthy of professional status. For business/commercial JEA members associated with a scholastic journalism enterprise, it will demonstrate a high level of professionalism and commitment to the students and advisers they serve. JEA will notify administrators and local media of your certification. A certificate and pin will testify to your qualification. When you attend or speak at national conventions, you will be designated as a CJE or MJE on your name badge and in the program.

via jea.org

In today’s world, where the journalism profession is under attack and constant scrutiny, validation of credibility is critical. Just today, Dallas Morning News announced layoffs of 40+ people, and about half of which will be newsroom personnel, due to “restructuring.” The journalism world is changing, and it’s more important now than ever that we, as teachers, are developing savvy, resourceful, credible journalists, and that begins by setting an example for them to model. Responsible journalism is vital to a functioning democracy, and many professional journalists begin their career in a high school newsroom.

Next up? MJE. 😉

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