Teach a little, learn a loT
Key Words: podcast, podcasting, radio interviews, scholastic press freedom, private schools
My podcasting learning goal for the week was to complete and edit an interview, and this dovetailed nicely with the news that my school had won the First Amendment Press Freedom Award for the third year in a row.
I chose to interview Gretchen Warner, Archer's upper school director and one of my supervisors, because I think it is crucial for private school advisers and administrators to hear why a school leader would choose to relinquish control of student media. Warner spoke thoughtfully in this interview about the factors she feels are most important for a successful journalism program and why she supports the program.
I think it's important to add a disclaimer however: we completed this interview the day before a very contentious letter to the editor was published in the students' online newspaper that contained accusations against the administration that were grounded in perception rather than fact. To their credit, the administration stands behind their commitment to student-controlled media and did not censor this letter, but it has caused a lot of tension. It has also prompted significant reflection on the part of the board about their letters policy and whether they need to revisit their process. The editorial board will be meeting with the administrative team to discuss the situation this coming week — not to face any kind of disciplinary action, but to engage in thoughtful dialogue about their process and the impact the letter had.
Had this been a normal journalistic situation, I would not have published this interview without allowing Warner to comment on how this situation had impacted her feelings about the questions I asked. Since that wasn't an option this time, I plan to complete a follow-up interview with her in the future.
I've been an NPR listener since I was a child, so I have long loved audio storytelling, and I love that podcasts have revitalized audio and brought it to a larger audience. I am a voracious podcast-listener — one of the few benefits of a long commute — and I'm eager to bring this option to my journalism students.
As part of my quest to become a better multimedia journalism adviser, my focus this week was on learning basic podcasting skills. After reviewing a number of excellent sites about the nature of audio, it was time to craft my own short podcast episode. I decided to use this opportunity to create a short episode about California's little-known Leonard Law, a unique state statute that protects the state's private high school and post-secondary students' freedom of speech.
Key Words: camera operations, photography, photojournalism
Dear Journalism Students,
I have a confession. Until the past two weeks, I really didn't know how to use a camera. I mean, sure, I knew how to point and click and use those handy automated settings — I even knew, in theory how to use the more sophisticated automated settings of aperture and shutter priority. But full manual mode? Let's just say that I've been faking it until I make it.
Keywords: advising, multimedia, journalism
When I started advising a scholastic newspaper, I was pretty sure that if I learned how to write like a journalist, I would be well on my way to a successful program.
I wasn’t entirely wrong. Mastering news-writing skills is crucial for new journalists, and learning to write like a journalist means learning how to write well. As Tim Harrower points out in “Inside Reporting,” the lessons Hemingway learned during his time on the Kansas City Star “were the best rules [he] ever learned for the business of writing.”
But the days when narrow rows of text ruled journalism are past. Today’s journalists need more than words to engage and inform their readerships.
A version of this blog was originally published on jeasprc.org Dec. 3, 2017.
Private school students do not have First Amendment protections, but that doesn’t mean they have no options. In fact, some private high school students enjoy robust press freedom.
I am fortunate to advise a program at a school that has won the First Amendment Press Freedom Award the past two years. At the recent Dallas convention, my editor-in-chief Cybele and I presented a workshop to help students at other private schools make a case to their administrations for press freedom in the hopes more private schools journalism programs will join the list of FAPFA recipients in the future.
If your program is in California or Rhode Island, you should start by looking at your state laws. Unlike most New Voices legislation, which applies to public school students, both of these states have additional laws to protect private school journalists. Even without a legal recourse, however, students can make a strong case for press freedom in other ways.
“And though she be but little, she is fierce!” -A Midsummer Night’s Dream