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Celebrate Scholastic Journalism Week Feb 19-25

February 18, 2012
Filed under JOURNALISM EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, Uncategorized


The Journalism Education Association has scheduled Feb. 19-25, 2012, as Scholastic Journalism Week. How you help promote this week is entirely up to you. It is hoped that your involvement and that of your students will serve to raise community consciousness regarding the benefits of scholastic journalism. Your students will learn from both the promotion and their celebration of an event holding major significance for them.

Use this resolution template, created by Stan Zoller, MJE, to encourage your school board, city council, county board or even student council to declare the week Scholastic Journalism Week in your area.

Click here for the Microsoft Word version of the resolution template.

Student Partner Miranda Leung of Chantilly High School designed this great poster you can use to celebrate Scholastic Journalism Week.

Schedule of events

Monday: Media Day
The foundation for the week and what student publications do. Spend some time looking at the history of journalism. Give students a list of journalists through history, have a WikiRace to see who can find information about them and their impact on journalism today. If you have more time, have students complete a poster assignment about Journalism History (there’s a great assignment in CJET 2010, contributed by Carolyn A. Brown, CJE, adviser, Tiger Times, Seoul International School, Seoul, Korea). Have a conversation with your staff about the purpose of journalism throughout history and now, talk about the role of scholastic journalism in the community, attend a school board meeting to highlight the importance of journalism at all levels. Give the students the assignment of researching the history of your publication. How long have you been around? Have you changed names?

Tuesday: Take it to the Community Day
A day to promote yourself and what your publication/staff does. Conduct a readership survey if you are a newspaper, have a booth set up at the lunch tables to promote your program and recruit, wear shirts promoting your program, One cool idea might be to assign each of your staffers to take a portrait of themselves that displays their personality. Take the portraits and get frames for them from a dollar store and then display them in a trophy case at your school with the SJW poster.

Wednesday: WE CAN!
What does journalism mean to you? Have each of the staffers sit in a circle and talk about what being a student journalist means or has meant to them. Spend time goal setting as a publication, what can you be, what can you do? Take the TAO of Journalism pledge during Scholastic Journalism Week this year. Last year more than 1,000 student journalists took the pledge to be Transparent, Accountable andOpen in their practice of journalism, and they now carry the TAO of Journalism Seal on their work. TAO of Journalism is endorsed by JEA.

Thursday: Thank you!
Take some time to thank those that have helped your publication. Send out thank you cards to advertisers, your publishing company, your administration, the teaching staff. One idea might be to hold a “Meet the Press” event for a half hour to an hour after school. Buy cake (everyone loves cake!), send out invitations to the teaching staff and administration, and have your entire publication staff in attendance. It gives your sources a chance to put faces to the publication for when they are approached for interviews in the future.

Friday: Free Speech Friday
Stay tuned for ideas and information from the Student Partners (45words) and Scholastic Press Rights Commission.

Other ideas

More time consuming/may take more than a little effort

  1. Take some video of your upcoming deadline. Post it online, via Facebook or Twitter to show your community what a scholastic publication goes through to share all the news that’s fit to print, or record the memories that make the year.
  2. Portrait project: Draw attention to the week and your staff. Assign students a portrait project. There’s great lessons in the Spring 2011 issue of C:JET that gives 20 ways to take stunning portraits. Depending on access to photography equipment, students could check out cameras for a day with a partner or group and head out on campus to get their portrait taken (you could even specify that their portrait be taken with a cell phone camera for additional challenge). They then come back to the lab, upload their photos, and chose one portrait of themselves that they feel encompasses their personality and who they are. Share them as a staff and then share them with your community. Mount them and put each staffer’s name on their portrait. Then use a wall outside your publication office or an empty trophy case to display the photos.
  3. Have an Amazing Race-style First Amendment scavenger hunt. Students are having clues related to each of the five freedoms scattered around the school (eg. “speech” clue hidden on the speaker). Kids have to find, then go on to the next clue. Prizes are given to the first three to complete.
  4. Pass out “Newsies Night” movie tickets. Show Newsies after school on your school’s big screen and buy popcorn to give away. The “tickets” are just quarter fliers…but the kids will have to say one of the freedoms of the First Amendment to get in as well.
  5. Hold a “Meet the Press” event at your school. Send out invitations (either tangible ones or e-mail) and invite your school’s staff and administrators to a short afterschool get together. Buy some cake at Costco, have some pop available, have your entire publication staff in attendance and schmooze it up. Send out “thank you” cards after the event letting those who attended how much you appreciate their support.
  6. Promote yourself. Use this week as a special way to recruit. Send out a celebration packet to your feeder schools, send some of your staffers down with it. Create a brochure to advertise your program and easy ways those in your community could get involved.
  7. Send out thank you notes to advertisers and/or other people in your community who consistently help you out.

 Medium effort

  1. Take a few minutes of your day during the week to share an issue of Superman #706 which focuses almost entirely on Daily Planet editor Perry White and the problems he faces with eerily modern day problems like decreased readership and fewer people reading newspapers. The effort in this is to find the actual issue.
  2. Have your students tweet about the First Amendment and moments during the week they think about those freedoms. Use the hashtag #sjw2012 so we can all follow your tweets!
  3. Celebrate the week by conducting short lessons on each of the Five Freedoms, one each day.
  4. Have your students take each day to conduct polls of the student body about those freedoms, what they know, but more importantly educating them on what they don’t know. Culminate the week with a penny drive for the Student Press Law Center.
  5. Change your profile pic on Facebook to the SJW poster.
  6. Invite your friends on Facebook to “like” the Scholastic Journalism Week 2012 page in order to get more ideas from other advisers around the nation.
  7. Write a status update during the week about why you consider Scholastic Journalism to be essential to your school, or why you continue to be a part of scholastic journalism. Share your passion, share your inspiration. What keeps you going?
  8. Encourage your students to do the same as #7.
  9. Celebrate yourself, at the end of the week, treat yourself to something special (whether it’s a cup of your favorite coffee, a pedi/mani, maybe a massage). You, as an adviser, do so much to support what your students do, you deserve to take some time to yourself.
  10. Take the TAO of Journalism Pledge. www.taoofjournalism.org. Then, when your staff takes the pledge, take a photo to commemorate (of the event and a group photo after) and send it to coyers@gmail.com, or post it to the SJW 2012 Facebook site yourself.
  11. Have your staff attend the school board meeting during the week. PACK THE HOUSE! Maybe even be proactive and attend the meeting but also address the board about the value of journalism in the curriculum and of free and responsible student news media serving the community.
  12. Print off posters from this page for the week and put them up all over your school the Friday evening before so students could come in to school and see them at the very beginning of the week.

Small effort

  1. Set up morning announcements for each day (available at the SJW website from JEA). Have them either read over the intercom or broadcast via your television broadcast class (if possible).
  2. Have your staffers wear their staff shirts, J-shirts, or anything and everything related to journalism at least once during the week at the same time.
  3. Have your students take a day to write a letter to your local paper about the importance of journalism to them, the school, etc.
  4. Do Something! Don’t let the week slip by!
  5. Hand out business cards with the First Amendment on them on Monday. Then, have your staff members head out into the cafeteria during lunch one of the days and pass out candy to every kid who can correctly recite (without their card) the five freedoms of the First Amendment.

Some ideas for the week
from Tom Gayda, MJE

  1. Guest speakers. Invite a local pro or former student made good to come and speak to your classes.
  2. Party. During class or after school, have a party to celebrate the week.
  3. No work worknight. Like a party. Plan to stay after school for fun only, no deadlines.
  4. PR. Send nice notes to faculty who help you out a lot. Leave them candy or snacks in the lounge.
  5. Hang out with other area schools. Invite them to your party or challenge them to some kind of competition.
  6. Write letters to the editor. Have students write letters to the local paper detailing their love of scholastic journalism.
  7. Have a press conference. Have a local politician, athlete or school administrator come to class and let students ask questions.
  8. Exchangeapolooza. Send your publications to other schools or spend time looking through the ones you get for fresh ideas. Celebrate others.
  9. Try something new. Live it up. Break from the norm. Do something cool you hear other schools always talk about. I’m going to try to get my students to sell ads!
  10. Clean. It is almost spring…
  11. Participate in SPLC Penny War. Raise money for a good cause!
  12. Clip stories/ideas/designs. Create a visual library from your favorite publications.
  13. Visit feeder schools. Get to know the middle schoolers who will one day take over.
  14. Compete! We’re kicking off a contest next week, everyone can play!
  15. Decorate. Make sure people know it is SJW by decorating your hallway area and classroom.

Student Partner Miranda Leung of Chantilly High School designed this great poster you can use to celebrate Scholastic Journalism Week.

More about Scholastic Journalism Week

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