Are High School Newspapers Obsolete?

from the just-go-online dept

When I was in high school years ago, I was both an editor for the school newspaper and a co-founder/editor of an "underground" newspaper that a group of friends put together to compete with the official school newspaper (it probably won't surprise folks to find out my first article for the underground paper was an examination of why an underground newspaper is perfectly legal and can't be prevented by a school administration). Both experiences were quite useful (and fun), but with so much talk these days of the challenges facing the normal newspaper industry, is it worth it for high schools to still publish newspapers? After all, these days, students who want to report on what's going on in a school no longer need the "sanctioned" press, thanks to the internet.

What got me thinking about this was reading an article about a high school principal who decided to shut down the high school's newspaper (via Romenesko) after he got offended by an editorial on flag burning that included a photo of a student burning a flag. The whole thing seemed ridiculous -- because there's nothing to stop the students from taking the content, and putting it all online and not needing any stamp of approval from the school administration.

Obviously, there's something to be said for the learning experience that can be provided by working together on a project, and the potential mentoring of a school newspaper advisor (though if I remember correctly, our advisor didn't actually do much), but that could just as easily be done through other means, including classes/extra-curricular activities focusing on helping students create their own content for online purposes, rather than under the umbrella of any official school newspaper.

Filed Under: high school newspapers, newspapers


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  1. identicon
    celticchrys, 13 Jun 2008 @ 12:42pm

    fleeting memories

    I was lucky enough to ride the wave of PC technology through my childhood and adolescence, entering college just before the World Wide Web made the Internet accessible to average people. So I had experience with many "old" methods of research and information dissemination as I grew up, like books, newspapers, etc. I also had experience with computers, software, and the online world(via BBS systems and later, telnet, gopher, etc., then the Web). While I love my technology, and the Web, the old medium are a valuable part of the learning experience. They are also great memory builders. For example: I have a stack of paper yearbooks from grade school, jr. high, high school, and college. My last year of college someone got the bright idea that we should be "modern" and do a "video yearbook." So for that year, instead of a book I can pull of the shelf to make the teenagers I know giggle, I have a VHS tape of disjointed video clips of campus life. A VHS tape, which most of the people I know no longer own a player for. Yeah. A paper newspaper or yearbook offer layout and design experience, reporting experience, etc, some of which are done on a PC, offering computer experience, and they also provide artifacts to trigger memory in coming years.

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