Planning for Scholastic Journalism Week

11 Feb

Scholastic Journalism Week is a time to celebrate your staff and bring visibility to an often under appreciated [in my biased opinion] activity: student publications. 45words will participate with themed content every day, with topics ranging from the importance of Tinker & Hazelwood to getting kids excited about the First Amendment.

In preparation for SJW, I prepared an open-ended project for my reporters on The Spoke. They will have three days to complete whatever project they choose, and at the end, applicable projects [videos, blog posts, etc] will be posted here during SJW to benefit other reporters. If you’re looking for a lesson for the next few weeks, consider a SJW project for your staff.

This is what I gave my reporters today:

Tuesday Feb. 1: hand out project sheets
Project proposals due with final copy on Thursday

Key dates:
-Feb. 7, 8, 9: work on projects in class [computer lab]
-Due at the end of class on Feb. 9
-Present projects on Feb. 24/25

Project overview:
Each reporter must create a project that raises awareness of scholastic press. The Spoke’s project is open-ended: you are asked to make something that helps others understand student publications, at a local or national level. Remember, you have three days in class to put your project together, so it should reflect three days’ worth of work.

You should submit a project proposal on Thusday, Feb. 3 along with, but not stapled to, your final copy.

Examples of potential projects:

  • PSA video to be shown on morning announcements and/or 45words’ blog [group of three or fewer]
  • Guest blog post(s) for 45words
  • Handout, brochure or other resource to help students understand anything about press rights; to be posted on 45words’ “resource” page
  • Opinion column to be posted on stoganews
  • Write letters to the editor [either Main Line Suburban Life or city papers] about the importance of scholastic journalism
  • Design a First Amendment poster [see & posters in production room for ideas]
  • Create a lesson plan for Language of Media classes
  • Other multimedia: podcasts, soundslides, etc
  • Debate [in front of Spoke class] any press rights issue [group of two or four]
  • Create songs/poems & perform them in front of class/on video

Suggested project topics:

  • Student press through the ages [history]
  • Press rights [many options, including: Tinker, Hazelwood, the First Amendment, prior review/restraint, etc]
  • Freedom of Information Act & how student journalists can use/have used it
  • What does the First Amendment mean to you? [you could write about this, or you could interview other students, journalists, social studies teachers, etc]
  • Comparing American freedom of speech to other countries [i.e. multiple journalists killed in Russia this past year]
  • Key terms for student journalists: libel, copyright, invasion of privacy, etc
  • Ethics; ethical dilemmas faced by student journalists
  • “In the news” compilation of recent national scholastic press rights issues. See for news briefs.

Comment below, or contact me at with any questions.

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