Quill & Scroll FALL 2014
INCLUSIVE JOURNALISM EDUCATING EDUCATORS TALK ABOUT TECHNOLOGY DIGITAL SKILLS AIDE
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CONGRATULATIONS 2014 Dow Jones News Fund National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year CHRIS WAUGAMAN
Prince George High School
Prince George, Virginia Adviser to The Royal News and trnwired.org Distinguished Advisers
Michelle Balmeo, Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, Calif. Mitch Eden, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Mo. Nancy Smith, Lafayette High School, Wildwood, Mo. Greg Gagliardi, Cherry Hill High School East, Cherry Hill, N.J.
Special Recognition Advisers
Brian Wilson,Waterford Kettering High School, Waterford, Mich. Evelyn Lauer, Niles West High School, Skokie, Ill. Christine Keyser-Fanick, John Paul Stevens High School, San Antonio, Texas Matt Rasgorshek, Westside High School, Omaha, Neb. 2014-2015 WSJ.com Winners
David Kohlmann, Southside High School, San Antonio, Texas Anne Weisgerber, Summit Senior High School, Summit, N.J. Martha Smith, Centennial High School, Roswell, Ga. Mark Eaton, T.C. Williams High School, Alexandria, Va. Justin Raisner, Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif. Michael Goodrich-Stuart, Hanover High School, Mechanicsville, Va. Rene Horton, Pleasant Hill Middle School, Lexington, S.C. Elizabeth Erin Coggins, Sparkman High School, Harvest, Ala.
Lisa Shapiro, Northwest High School, Germantown, Md. Adam Brachmann, Dysart High School, El Mirage, Ariz. Brandon Martin, Helias Catholic High School, Jefferson City, Mo. Daniel McKeon, Gilmer County High School, Ellijay, Ga. Elizabeth Swann, Nation Ford High School, Fort Mill, S.C. Scott Tuffiash, Avonworth High School, Pittsburgh, Pa. Patricia M. Wardell, Holy Name School, Fall River, Mass. Jennifer Castro, Tri-City Christian School, Vista, Calif.
Dow Jones News Fund, Inc. P.O. Box 300 Princeton NJ 08543 email@example.com
www.newsfund.org 609.452.2820 2 • Quill & Scroll • Fall 2014
IN THIS ISSUE
FALL 2014 Volume 89 • Issue 1
Magazine of Quill and Scroll International
4. Learning the Law - Candace Perkins Bowen
Honorary Society for High School Journalists
5. Digital Skills Aide - Maya Lazaro 6. Book Reviews - Barbara Bealor Hines 8. ‘The’ One Thing - Mark Newton
10. To Be Included - Michael Simons
9. Winning! - Frank D. LoMonte
l Journalis o o ch
12. Technology Talks - Julie E. Dodd and Judy L. Robinson 14. Making History - Lisa Rollins 17. Time to Celebrate - Sarah Nichols 18. Skills vs Substance - Rocky Dailey
ABOUT THE COVER This photograph by Giovanni Sabala of McKinney High School, McKinney, Texas, placed second in the 2014 Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society Writing and Photo Contest - Feature Photo Division. The photo was taken with a fish eye lens, giving it a “bubble” shape. See the complete list of winners on the Quill and Scroll website quillandscroll.org, where a sampling of winning entries in a CD PowerPoint presentation can be ordered.
Editor and Business Manager Vanessa Shelton Executive Director, Quill and Scroll Society Assistant Editor L.C. Graf Senior, University of Iowa
Contributing Editors Julie E. Dodd Professor, College of Journalism and Mass Communication The University of Florida, Gainesville Bruce E. Konkle Professor, College of Journalism University of South Carolina, Columbia
Book Editor Barbara Bealor Hines Professor Emeritus, Mass Communication and Media Studies, Howard University, Washington, D.C.
KEEP IN TOUCH @quillandscroll
quillandscroll.org 3 • Quill & Scroll • Fall 2014
LEARNING THE LAW By CANDACE PERKINS BOWEN Executive Director Center for Scholastic Journalism Generally, students are the ones who receive education at school, but sometimes administrators should learn a little, too. This isn’t meant in a nasty, they-don’t-know-anything sort of tone. It’s more about the difference in background we have that means we need to find some common ground. For one thing, textbooks that future secondary school administrators use in their educational law classes cover student media and related legal issues – but not the way journalism educators learn them. Their books explain the challenge of balancing students’ First Amendment rights and principals’ concern for control. Comparing how these texts and the only scholastic media text on the subject, Law of the Student Press, cover two landmark Supreme Court cases — Tinker and Hazelwood — is a clue to some disagreements and misunderstandings between principals and journalism teachers and their students. 1 Research in 2011 showed 10 of the most often-used law texts for administrators generally offer fewer than a dozen pages about student media legalities. For instance, not all the books include the phrase every sophomore journalism student learns for Tinker concerning students and teachers not “shedding their constitutional rights … at the schoolhouse gate.” Another important part of Tinker – the need for material disruption to be present before an administrator can legally step in – was also vague in many of the 10 texts studied. One did point out that school administrators do bear the burden of justifying suppression, and fear of disorder or just having students talking about a controversial topic isn’t reason enough to suppress student voices. Hazelwood explanations tend to be even more confusing. The Supreme Court said school administrators do not infringe upon students’ First Amendment rights when their control is “reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns.” Defining what is legitimate and even what is pedagogical is part of the issue. One of the books says, “The First Amendment gives very little protection to student freedom of the press in school-sponsored, curricular publications.” It further states, “The Court ruled that a curricular newspaper was not a public forum and that ‘school officials were entitled to regulate the contents … in a reasonable manner.’” While this explanation may be true for the Hazelwood situation, this appears to say the Court ruled no curricular newspaper could be a public forum, which is misleading at best. So, with administrators ill-informed about student press rights – at least the way student journalists and their advisers see them – what can we do to educate the people in our school who can make a big difference in our amount of freedom? Mark Goodman, Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism at Kent State, said even if administrators interpret court decisions in a different way than we do, exposing them to our understanding and that of the entire journalism education community helps them realize we are thinking and acting based on considerable study and expertise. “We’re not just making this stuff up. We’re relying on what our experts tell us,” Goodman said. So here’s where a little educating comes in. Goodman suggests giving administrators materials from the Student Press Law Cen-
ter and JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Committee (see sidebar for those and other sites). “Show them the law sections of Quill and Scroll’s Principal’s Guide to Scholastic Journalism and the JEA curriculum. Buy them a copy of Law of the Student Press, just to keep on their shelf for that day when they’re struggling to figure out the right thing to do,” Goodman said. He also suggests bringing them to a scholastic journalism conference or convention and asking them to join you for a law session or two. John Bowen, assistant director of the Center for Scholastic Journalism and JEA’s long-time Scholastic Press Rights Committee chair, adds a couple more suggestions, including keeping administrators informed of events and issues in scholastic journalism, including legal decisions. He added that involving them in the educational growth of student journalists at work is valuable. “Let them see students using critical thinking and civic engagement,” he said. “That builds an atmosphere of trust that works both ways and eliminates the need for review and restraint.” Does educating your administrators make a difference? Bowen’s personal experience supports this. While advising a student newsmagazine, he had a principal come from a prior review school, and one of his first acts was to demand prior review. “My students and I worked with him, showed him our journalistic process and decision-making. He backed off, never reviewed and became an active supporter of our program,” Bowen said.
1 “Law textbooks for school administrators: DO they present the same Tinker and Hazelwood we know?” by Candace Perkins Bowen and Trevor Ivan, paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, St. Louis, August 2011.
LINKS TO EDUCATE YOUR ADMINISTRATORS Quill and Scroll Principal’s Guide to Scholastic Journalism http://principalsguide.org/category/law-ethics/ http://principalsguide.org/importance-of-designated-openforum-status/ http://principalsguide.org/why-avoiding-prior-review-is-educationally-sound/ Student Press Law Center http://www.splc.org http://www.splc.org/page/press-freedom-censorship Center for Scholastic Journalism http://csjkent.edu JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee http://jeasprc.org/prior-review/ http://jeasprc.org/jea-board-defines-prior-review/ http://jeasprc.org/foundations-for-scholastic-journalism/
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DIGITAL SKILLS AIDE By MAYA LAZARO
Media Production Coordinator School of Journalism and Communication University of Oregon A video on-demand professional development program, created by educators at the University of Oregon, may help journalism teachers integrate Common Core State Standards into their digital storytelling instruction. The program, titled Digital Skills Workshop (http:// digitalskillsworkshop.com), is a five-day curriculum that shows educators how to bring digital storytelling into their classrooms, step-by-step. “We all love a good story,” Ed Madison, an assistant professor at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, says. “This approach to teacher training engages educators in the stories of students who are also learning. It completes the circle.” As teachers across the country begin adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) into their classrooms, creative approaches are needed to meet the Standards’ call for students to be able to “gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesize, and report on information and ideas” and to “analyze and create a high volume and extensive range of print and non-print texts in media forms old and new” in preparation for college and workforce training post-high school. Video on-demand professional development is potentially a missing link when integrating journalism into mainstream curriculums. Madison decided to test this strategy. He and a team facilitated a weeklong video journalism workshop for a cohort of students at Roosevelt High School in Portland, Oregon, documenting the process so that educators could later replicate it. The program offers video modules that allow visitors to follow the narrative arc of three featured students as they brainstorm and select their stories, plan shot lists and interview questions, schedule time with their subjects, conduct on-camera interviews, film their subjects in action, edit their footage, and finally, share their finished videos with their families and peers. The website also features a downloadable teacher’s guide. The Digital Skills Workshop explores a new model for instructional learning that blends tutorials with documentary storytelling. Traditional instructional videos can often be dull and one-dimensional because they lack “characters,” learners that audiences can relate to. In contrast, documentaries can open a window into the human experience. Video journalism combines traditional reporting skills emphasized in the CCSS, such as research-gathering, evaluating and distilling information, and effectively communicating that information to others, with digital technology that can take storytelling to the next level. While the project was funded through a civic engagement grant offered by the Wayne Morse Center For Law And Politics, the SOJC donated iPod Touches, micro-
A Roosevelt High School journalism student shows footage he’s taken during the Digital Skills Workshop to his journalism instructor. Photo by Ed Madison, University of Oregon phones, lens kits, and a charging station for Roosevelt to keep after the program ended. For schools that cannot afford camera equipment or require additional mentors, Madison suggests seeking out donations and assistance from local colleges and other organizations. During the inaugural workshop, college students from the SOJC volunteered their time to assist participating Roosevelt students with their video projects, providing advice and direction throughout the week. Karla Kennedy, the SOJC’s Scholastic Journalism Outreach Coordinator, says that journalism can open up new avenues of self-expression that enhance students’ learning. “Once someone has voice, they take a stronger stake in their education,” Kennedy said. Since the Digital Skills Workshop website went live in September, Madison has seen a positive response from high school teachers he’s spoken with about the project. “We’re already hearing from teachers that after watching the modules they are less intimidated about introducing digital storytelling into their curriculums,” Madison said. “This is a learning model that can be replicated and applied in numerous ways.” Madison is writing about his findings from the workshop in greater detail as part of a forthcoming book on journalistic learning, to be published by Teachers College Press. To learn more, visit http://digitalskillsworkshop.com.
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BOOK REVIEWS By BARBARA BEALOR HINES
Howard University, Professor Emeritus, Mass Communication and Media Studies Leadership requires the skill of knowing when to change, how to change and how to help people work together to be effective. Being prepared to lead a staff and to make personal decisions about college and careers means staying ahead of change. Books featured in this issue of Quill & Scroll follow one of two strands: Professional growth or personal experience. Both are valuable to help make decisions and to lead change, things that Quill and Scroll members (and readers) do daily.
FENTON, NICOLE AND KATE KIEFER LEE. NICELY SAID: WRITING FOR THE WEB WITH STYLE
99 AND PURPOSE. NEW RIDERS VOICES THAT MATTER. 2014.
Nicely Said is nicely said. This is a quick read (192 pages), tightly written, effectively designed book that can help even veteran writers polish their work for the Web. Published as part of the “Voices that Matter” series, it focuses on using technology for the reader and writer’s benefit. It has real-world examples and interviews with people who write and design for the Web daily including Kristina Halvorson of Brain Traffic, Tiffani Jones Brown of Pinterest, Randy J. Hunt of Etsy, Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom, Mandy Brown of Editorially, Sarah Richards
of GOV.UK and more. Nicely Said includes Basic Guidelines (be clear, be concise, be honest, be considerate, and write how you speak) and explains why it’s important to follow those basic guidelines. It explains how content creators are the authority on the topic, but often are unable to say what they mean. The authors explain how to make content scannable (arranging similar topics into modules and sections), while also being honest and truthful. As with all editing, there is the need for consistency, and Fenton and Lee explain why. With changes in technology, there’s also change in industry jargon. Nicely Said explains the jargon. Finally, it gives the reader a tip on how to get unstuck when writing for the Web. Nicely said!
N.M. GWYNNE’S GRAMMAR: THE ULTIMATE INTRODUCTION TO GRAMMAR $1995 GWYNNE, AND THE WRITING OF GOOD ENGLISH. ALFRED A KNOPF. 2014. Who would expect the latest authority on grammar to be a retired English businessman? Yet Gwynne’s Grammar was on the best-seller lists in England and sold more than 40,000 copies – of a grammar book! Its publication by Alfred Knopf in the U.S. this fall comes in response to what Newsweek magazine writes is a “soaring revival of English grammar.” Nevile Gwynne writes that “grammar is the science of using words rightly, leading to thinking rightly, leading to deciding rightly, without which – as both common sense and experience show – happiness is impossible. Therefore, happiness depends at least partly on good
grammar.” The book project was born when Gwynne tutored the three children of Tom and Victoria Hodgkinson, the founders of Idler Academy, a combination bookshop and lecture theater that has lectures on everything from calligraphy to the ukulele. Hodgkinson, also an author, says “Everybody has a sense they’re not very good at grammar.” Gwynne laments that schools don’t teach grammar and that the Internet drives the written word to new lows of informality. Gwynne’s Guide is available in paperback and its small size means it can tuck easily into a backpack or purse. The book gives the principal parts of speech and basic grammatical elements. It also incorporates Strunk’s famous Guide to Style.
RODHAM. HARD CHOICES. SIMON AND SCHUSTER. 2014. $35 CLINTON, HILLARY Hillary Clinton spent four years as the her experiences. Some would be considered memoirs or biographies. Secretary of State under President Barack Obama experiencing many forms of leadership challenges, some different than she had faced representing the state of New York in the U.S. Senate. Hard Choices is her account of the crises, choices and challenges during that period. This was a period of war, global financial crises, international business and political threats and challenges to U.S. foreign policy. They did not end after her four-year stint; many of the issues about Afghanistan and Libya are still in the news today. Clinton has written or contributed to numerous books based on
This book becomes part of history with its global focus and explanation of policy decisions. But it does not establish policy. Clinton talks about her extensive travel (112 countries, nearly 1 million miles) and is clearly a storyteller weaving in her family and her future. Many assume this book is setting the scene for her run for president in 2016, yet she says, “I haven’t decided yet.” It tells about her service ethic, her sacrifices, and the people she has learned from. It shows her passion for human rights, feminism, youth and LGBT people. If you’re looking for an exposé about diplomacy, you won’t find it here. But you will find thoughtful questions and some answers about what contributes to making the U.S. the strong nation that it is. It is a book that is keeping the media talking about global dilemmas.
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YATE, MARTIN. KNOCK ‘EM DEAD: SOCIAL NETWORKING FOR JOB SEARCH AND
$1599 PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS. ADAMS MEDIA. 2014. While this book has social networking for job search as the primary portion of the title, it’s the professional success that becomes important for scholastic and collegiate journalists. Increasingly, today’s media professionals are relying on the use of multiple forms of social media to do their job. LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook are now staples of reporting, and more are evolving. Knock ‘em Dead: Social Networking for Job Search and Professional Success is part of a 17-book series with each book focusing on a different aspect of job search and career management. Knock ‘em Dead – The Ultimate Job Search Guide, was reviewed in a previous column.
The book reviewed in this latest column is most useful focusing on the importance of a social media profile, part of a reporter’s brand and using that brand in multiple ways. It can help journalists dramatically increase their visibility and build professionally relevant networks. The chapter on Twitter clarifies what to tweet and re-tweet, the use of hashtags, and finding sources, while LinkedIn directs the reader to special groups. Google+ helps the reader identify and find communities and explains the importance of announcing a status. Facebook emphasizes the necessity of building networks to develop a strategy that keeps a good reporter in tune across subject matters. The plus with this book is that on completion, the reader understands how to create a discoverable, usable social media profile.
KIRSTEN. OFF THE SIDELINES: RAISE YOUR VOICE, CHANGE THE WORLD. $26 GILLIBRAND, RANDOM HOUSE. 2014. Some would say Kirsten Gillibrand is a new kind of politician. She’s young, a mother of two young boys, and the daughter and granddaughter of feminists who set the bar high for social and political accomplishments. While she grew up with the mindset and challenge to succeed, she would later say that it was Hillary Rodham Clinton, then her senator from New York, who said “Decisions are being made every day in Washington, and if you are not a part of those decisions, you might not like what they decide and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.” Fast forward to 2014 and Gillibrand is firmly ensconced in Washington and serving as a member of Congress from New York. And in her position, she is facing life and leadership challenges every day. Some would say she’s too young to write a memoir. But this book pulls no punches. Gillibrand writes about her sources of strength, and high on that list are her “girlfriends”: Those other female members
of Congress who have learned the importance of relying on one another, whether it’s for work on creating and shepherding legislation through the system, or finding daycare for their children. She’s picked colleagues to work with who share similar values including Florida’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. And from both on and off the sidelines, she’s learned to speak and fight from the heart. As with all members of Congress, Gillibrand has successes (securing federally funded medical care for 9/11 first responders, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) and disappointments (failing by five votes to pass a bill protecting survivors of sexual assault in the military). She’s ambitious: She wants readers to tap their inner strength, find personal fulfillment and speak up (reflecting the title of her book). As a former corporate lawyer, Gillibrand is direct, yet fair, in her writing. She’s been called “the girl next door,” yet she’s tenacious when she goes after those issues that are most important to her: health, education, fairness. Some would say those are women’s issues. Gillibrand would say they are all of society’s issues.
KATHERINE S. AND ARIANE DE LANNOY. AFTER FREEDOM: THE RISE OF THE $35 NEWMAN, POST-APARTHEID GENERATION IN DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA. RANDOM HOUSE. 2014.
Leadership is evident across race, class and gender. It knows no age. Through the eyes of seven individuals living in postapartheid South Africa, the authors write about the challenges to democracy that affect a newly emerged democracy. It’s 20 years after the first free election and the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as the first black African president of Africa’s richest and most unequal country. Readers meet Amanda, born and educated in the sea town of Port Elizabeth, who is a contemporary black, young woman, working for a non-governmental organization (NGO). There’s also Brandon, young, white who speaks Afrikaner and
lives in the suburbs with little personal contact with non-whites. And Thandiswa, who lives in a shack. She’s a former cattle herder without a job, living with her family in the township of Khayelitsha. She did not receive an education like Amanda. Their stories force the readers to think about issues like lifestyle and politics, about making choices when given the opportunity. It’s a story of economics and education. Katherine Newman is the James Knapp Dean of the Arts and Sciences and professor of sociology at the Johns Hopkins University and the author of 12 books on poverty, the working poor and the consequences of inequality. Ariane De Lannoy is a senior researcher at The Children’s Institute and lecturer in the Sociology Department at the University of Cape Town. She specializes in young adult decisionmaking, citizenship and youth violence.
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‘THE’ ONE THING
A quest to afford more meaning — as a teacher/adviser and in personal life
By MARK NEWTON, MJE President Journalism Education Association
“What is the one thing … I must do to get … the best results?” The longer I do something — teach, advise, parent, serve as president — the harder it becomes. That principle seems contrary to standard operating protocol. The principle of more experience at doing something makes doing it easier, certainly seems logical. Apparently, I missed a chapter in some business or psychology book. In reality, sure, some things get easier. And, easier. And, easier. And, in reality, some things get harder. And, harder. And, harder. After all, I know more, so I naturally have more questions. I have more experiences to see things that a novice does not. I know where to look and what to look for. With experience, my lack of being green, colors my teaching, advising, parenting, presidential worlds different shades of grey for every year doing so. Additionally, my experiences — direct, cursory and indirect — and my personal connections — from friends to acquaintances to strangers — impact my world more and more. I start to make connections between a personal experience with a stranger to a more effective interview technique to teach my students. I listen to the creativity of my favorite musician and embrace creative experiences for my own children. A particularly perplexing deadline dilemma finds me reaching out to a wider range of diverse confidants. I can talk motivation with my two brothers who are in the business world, the soccer coach in my department at school and the adviser from Indiana. In the end, my increased knowledge and experiences make for more knowledge and more experiences. I most certainly appreciate all of my experiences and my knowledge. My curiosity certainly pushes me to build more and more curiosity. Consequently, the amount of information I can now access needs to be curated. I need to use my knowledge and experiences to filter and get to “the good stuff.” My current quest has me focused on simplifying my wealth of experiences and knowledge to what truly matters. My guiding question is: What is the one thing — or two, or five things — I must do to get me (and my students, my children, etc.) the best results? For about the last 10 years, I have been tinkering with a notion I have been calling in my mind, “The Five.” Basically, the idea is what five skills, or facts, or objectives, or standards do I have to teach to make the most difference in my students’ learning. If I was teaching news writing, for example, what five concepts must I teach my beginning journalism students to get them most prepared? As an adviser, what five leadership principles are most important for my editors to acquire to be the best leaders possible? In essence, I was tinkering with what do I have to dumb down to knowledge up. Limited time and opportunity forced me to think and rethink my strategies for creating the best student, staff member, and/or leader I could with the time I was afforded. The Five is a work in progress. This efficiency and effectiveness principle though was reinforced once again when I read “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Ex-
traordinary Results,” a wonderfully insightful book by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan. The premise of the book: “What is the one thing I can do right now such that by doing it everything will be easier or unnecessary?” In the final chapter, “Putting the ONE Thing to Work,” Keller states, “If you try to do everything, you could wind up with nothing. If you try to do just ONE Thing, the right ONE Thing, you could end up with everything you wanted.” Keller suggests that in a school, the ONE Thing question might be phrased, “What is the ONE Thing we can do to double our parent participation?” A ONE Thing question in an adviser’s life might be, “What’s the ONE Thing I can do this week to create more time to meet with each one of my editors?” Such questions require us to sift through piles and piles of information to get to the core. The absolute essentials percolate to the top and resonate through the very next steps of action. Certainly, all parents, teachers, and advisers practice a similar philosophy, if not this one in particular. We simply can’t function without it. What seems to happen, however, is that our sifting is not as meaningful as it could be. Recently, my quest for the one or five things has become more intentional. That purpose is affording me more meaning — as a teacher/adviser and in my personal life. Knowing my Thing has made me a better journalism teacher and student media adviser. I feel more focused in my instruction, with purposeful and meaningful lessons. Instead of peeling off the layers of activity, I am biting into core accomplishments. For example, in Journalism I, my semester-long beginning course, my One Thing has been the First Amendment. By centering my instruction on the five freedoms, basic media law and significant court decisions, my students are not only preparing for a world in student media, but a larger one as citizens capable of understanding and applying their freedoms in a meaningful and productive way. As an adviser, I have worked hard this semester to share this ONE Thing philosophy with my editors and their comprehensive staff, VISTAj Student Media. We talk about working harder, not smarter, and the difference between activity and accomplishment. We talk about creating experiences for themselves, each other, and, most importantly, their audiences. Through every one of our many conversations, we continually ask, “What’s the ONE Thing I/we can do this week to create a better yearbook (news magazine, news website, broadcast, or livestream sports event)?” Through every one of our many conversations, we continually ask, “What’s the ONE Thing I/we can do this week to create a better experience for ourselves, for each other, and for our audience?” And that question is The One Question we’re all searching to answer. Most certainly, it may be a hard question to answer. But it may be an easy one, too.
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Student journalists prevail in more ways than one
By FRANK D. LOMONTE Executive Director Student Press Law Center
There are many ways to “win.” Some wins are as clear as the numbers on a scoreboard. Others may seem, in the short term, to be setbacks. They may be recognized as “wins” not in the outcome, but in the judgment of history. Tanvi Kumar and Gillian McGoldrick are winners. As editors of their high school publications, each encountered forceful administrative resistance to journalism that adults found uncomfortable to read. As editor of Cardinal Columns at Wisconsin’s Fond du Lac High School, Tanvi authored a searing article, “The Rape Joke,” that examined how survivors of sexual assault are traumatized when they hear words like “rape” used thoughtlessly in conversation (“our team lost by four touchdowns, we got raped”). Although Tanvi’s journalism was exemplary – and commended by those who work with sexual assault victims – her school administrators didn’t agree. They imposed a “prior review” policy giving the principal veto power over any material in student publications that he considered “unsuitable.” What happened next was remarkable. Ordinary students – not journalists, just concerned readers – rebelled. They demanded, and got, a meeting with Principal Jon Wiltzius to complain about the school filtering their news. Members of the community, including a college journalism professor, began keeping a vigil at the local school board. They used the open-mic period for public comments to remind the board that the issue of press freedom at Cardinal Columns would not go away. Under intense pressure, the district agreed to repeal the policy requiring pre-approval from the principal before the newspaper is printed. Gillian’s story has not (yet) resulted in such a “happy ending.” During the start of the 2013-14 school year, student editors of The Playwickian at Neshaminy High School in Pennsylvania voted to stop publishing the name of the school’s athletic mascot – “Redskins” – because the name is considered racially insulting to Native Americans. When a student submitted a letter-to-theeditor using the mascot name for the June 2014 issue, the editors refused to comply with their principal’s order to publish it unedited. Instead, they ran an “editors’ note” box explaining their policy. That decision provoked an explosive reaction. The local school board enacted new publications and social media policies that strip students of all free-speech protection. (The policies may be inconsistent with the First Amendment and Pennsylvania state law, but have not yet been challenged in court.) The principal disciplined both Gillian and her adviser, as well as “fining” the newspaper $1,200, the cost of printing one issue. What happened next was astounding. The entire country rallied behind the inspiring story of a scrappy newspaper and its
principled editors. The Washington Post devoted an entire editorial to defending The Playwickian, and a group of high school journalists from California started a nationwide online fundraising campaign to support the newspaper that shattered its $2,400 goal in a matter of days. This is a “win” of a very different kind. Although the students’ press freedom has (on paper) gone backward, the cause of student journalism everywhere has been advanced. People who never before thought or cared about the rights of students to say, write and read what they choose are talking about it. The result almost certainly will be stronger state laws protecting the independence of student journalists. (States can give their citizens more protection than the minimum provided by the U.S. Constitution. Campaigns to enact student-press-rights laws are underway now in North Dakota and Connecticut, and the SPLC’s website, www.splc.org, has information about starting one in your state.) Gillian and Tanvi will always be united as “winners” in another way – as co-winners of the Courage in Student Journalism Award, presented jointly by the Student Press Law Center, the National Scholastic Press Association, and Kent State University’s Center for Scholastic Journalism, which underwrites a cash prize for the victors. The award recognizes young people who have shown exceptional fortitude – win or lose – in seeking to publish information and share ideas in the face of adversity. I was reminded recently that a “win” does not always mean coming out with the most votes, after speaking at New York’s Stony Brook University alongside two history-making former students, Mary Beth Tinker and Cathy Kuhlmeier Frey. Their names are immortalized in two legendary U.S. Supreme Court rulings, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969) and Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988). In an auditorium filled with 600 New York high-schoolers, Mary Beth and Cathy were equally hailed as champions and mobbed by selfie-seeking students – even though their court cases could not be more different. Mary Beth Tinker’s case is fondly recalled as a victory for the free-speech rights of students. The Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling protected students against school censorship when they non-disruptively express their opinions, even on school grounds during school time. Cathy Kuhlmeier’s case is… more complicated. On paper, it will go down as a historic setback for the welfare of students, a 5-3 ruling (with one Justice absent) giving schools increased censorship authority over speech in “curricular” settings (including Cathy’s class-produced student newspaper).
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TO BE INCLUDED Developing inclusive student media coverage and staffing
By MIKE SIMONS Vice President, CSPAA I fell into advising Skjöld, the West High School yearbook, by coincidence in December 2001 when a colleague departed earlier than expected for maternity leave. I was a special education teacher working in primarily self-contained, small group settings with students who had various learning and emotional or behavioral needs at the Painted Post, New York, high school. Working in both a self-contained classroom and a publications lab presented exciting opportunities for my co-advisers and I to advocate for increased inclusion of students with disabilities both on our staff and in our storytelling. Though the issues of privacy and mindful sensitivity concerning people with disabilities do present some challenges, seldom are they insurmountable obstacles. A Place for Everyone Joining our staff in 2003, Jason (name changed to protect privacy) was a generally pleasant young man who struggled greatly in math and ELA. His frustration tolerance for academic work was extremely low, and was very quick to anger if he felt he had been wronged. With failing grades in many core academic areas over two years, he came to Skjöld the first semester of his junior year, and quickly made an impact on the photography staff. In photography, abstracts were stripped away; with some basic instruction in the first week or two of school, he had enough knowledge that, paired with the instantaneous feedback on the LCD screen of our DSLRs, he could trial-and-error his way into solid, consistent shooting that benefited our team. We paired Jason with a veteran senior for some support and mentoring, and combined with check-ins from me on a regular basis, he found success on our staff that he rarely enjoyed in a more traditional classroom setting. What’s more, the more casual structure inherent in many publication labs played to Jason’s strengths and minimized the impacts of his short attention span and frustration tolerance. A colleague shared with me that when she began advising, her requirements for joining the yearbook staff were strict: “I required a high GPA, success in honorslevel English and a glowing recommendation from an English teacher … all non-negotiable. But then I met Stephen,” she wrote. Stephen (name changed), a senior, was cut from the same cloth as Jason, and wasn’t on my colleague’s radar until, she says, “a guidance counselor told me that Stephen was a special kid who took pretty pictures, so I de-
cided to take a chance.” She continues, “Stephen was easily the nicest kid I’ve ever had on staff --- and by far the best photographer. Stephen never wrote a caption or copy by himself but he spent countless hours after school covering events and training the rest of our staff how to use our cameras. Stephen was calm and kind and when kids were around him, they became more calm and kind themselves. The only regret I ever had about allowing Stephen to join the staff was that I didn’t get him on staff before his senior year.” In the years since she taught Stephen, and I worked with Jason, we have both had students on our yearbook staffs with, among other things, Asperger’s, severe ADHD, physical disabilities requiring wheelchairs and profound intellectual disabilities. This past September, I welcomed Scott to my Photojournalism 1 class. Scott uses a wheelchair to get around, and has some minor issues with strength and coordination in his hands. With the support of his case manager, we were able to purchase a triple-jointed Manfrotto 143 Magic Arm kit that can bear the weight of his DSLR camera, freeing Scott to concentrate his efforts on manipulating the camera’s dials and knobs. Scott is right in the mix with our other PJ students, with many of them stepping in of their own accord to help him attach the arm to his chair or standing ready to assist him if needed. As an instructor, I get great joy from watching Scott and his peers collaborating in their photography. As Stephen’s adviser shared, “Sometimes their parents and special education teachers think I am doing them a favor by letting (students with special needs) join the class. What they don’t realize is just how much my students and I benefit.” I couldn’t agree more. Toward Inclusive Coverage Evaluating yearbooks for state press associations, I have noticed the same tired, cliché coverage shows up time and again: stories of the quarterback and cheerleader, the homecoming dance, the movers and shakers in the dominant social circles. I find it refreshing, then, when staffs develop broadly-focused coverage that includes stories from a wide range of students, including those with disabilities. Staffs and advisers seeking to tell authentic stories of all school community members should not overlook students with disabilities, but should be aware of considerations for privacy if a student’s disability is in any way addressed in the coverage.
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ing opportunities that include students with disabilities yet the story has nothing at all to do with the disability itself. Such was the case with the homecoming spread from a colleague’s yearbook where a young woman with Down Syndrome was voted homecoming queen, and my staff ’s coverage of the annual holiday craft fair put on by a class of students with a variety of more profound learning disabilities. In both cases, the coverage made no mention at all of disabilities; rather, the staffs involved simply developed solid, journalistic coverage highlighting students at their school - disabilities weren’t part of the conversation. Other opportunities arise if and when publication staffs want to report on classmates and their disability, as our 2012 staff did at Skjöld. The staff wanted to highlight five standout students on our dividers with environmental portraits and long-form profiles. When they started discussing Brittany and her sophomore project, I knew we had a special opportunity. Born with a severe form of spina bifida, Brittany planned and hosted a walk-a-thon fundraiser to benefit the Spina Bifida Association. Our editors knew that there were privacy issues wrapped up in talking with Brittany about her physical disability and spina bifida, so we approached her mother to discuss the proposed article. In short, Brittany’s mother was in tears just minutes into the conversation, elated that our students wanted to include her daughter, in her words, “just like the other kids.” A phone call home or a visit with a parent and student is absolutely appropriate in instances where details of a student’s disability may be included in coverage, but staffs and advisers shouldn’t shy away from considering such stories. For Brittany and her family, the profile our students developed was a highlight of her year. On an assignment, senior Scott VanWoert uses a Manfrotto 143 Magic Arm and Canon T3i DSLR for his Photojournalism 1 class. A Manfrotto Magic Clamp attached the Magic Arm to VanWoert’s wheelchair frame. The Magic Arm’s three joints were adjusted to any orientation needed. Photo courtesy of Michael Simons.
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Using another angle, staffs may easily find storytell-
Mike Simons, CJE, advises the Tesserae Yearbook at the newly-opened Corning-Painted Post High School in upstate New York. He is vice president of the Columbia Scholastic Press Advisers’ Association and is a frequent keynote speaker and instructor at regional workshops and national conventions.
Yearbook Excellence Contest (postmark deadline Nov. 1) International Writing and Photo Contest (postmark deadline Feb. 5) Blogging Competition (postmark deadline Feb. 5) Scholarships (postmark deadline May 11) News Media Evaluation (postmark deadline June 15) @quillandscroll
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TECHNOLOGY TALKS By JULIE E. DODD
University of Florida journalism professor
JUDY L. ROBINSON
Digital technology specialist
How are college students using technology to be more effective as students? We asked five students at the University of Florida who are majors in the College of Journalism and Communications to share their technology use. Here’s what they had to say.
WHAT’S YOUR MEDIA EXPERIENCE AND WHAT TECHNOLOGY DO YOU USE?
Gabriella Nicholas, Junior
I am a staff photographer for The Independent Florida Alligator (UF’s student-run newspaper), member of Society for Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association, and writer for Sparks Magazine, a student-run Asian-interest publication. I use a MacBook Pro, iPad Mini, and iPhone 5. Marsha Joseph, Junior
I am a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and PRSSA. The technology I own and use are a laptop and a smartphone. Chad Furst, Senior
I am President of UF’s PRSSA. Previously I was a public relations intern at The PR Group in Clearwater, Fla., and a marketing-management intern at Raymond James Financial, Inc. in St. Petersburg, Fla. I use a laptop and smartphone. Christopher Kennedy, Senior
I am a member of PRSSA and a blogger in the “For Your Entertainment” section in The Independent Florida Alligator. While I was still living in Jamaica, I briefly wrote for the “TEENage” section of the Jamaica Observer newspaper. I use a HP laptop and the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone. Lindsay Alexander, Junior
I am an Opinion Columnist for The Independent Florida Alligator. At Boone High School in Orlando, Florida, I was a staff, a copy editor and Editor-in-Chief. I am also a member of Quill and Scroll Honor Society. I use a laptop and smartphone.
HOW ARE YOU USING TECHNOLOGY TO BE A SUCCESSFUL STUDENT? As a student, my planner and calendar are my best friends. Staying organized is a great way to stay successful in college, and I recently employed the help of one app to help me keep track of my coursework – iStudiez. The program cost ranges from $2-$10. A free version is available for those who would rather try out the app before purchasing the full service.
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HOW ARE YOU USING TECHNOLOGY TO BE A SUCCESSFUL STUDENT? iStudiez is a multi-platform app, available for Windows and Apple products. iStudiez Pro provides students with their exam schedules, current GPA, and homework reminders. I love that the events are color-coordinated because I can easily distinguish photo assignments for The Alligator from current events quizzes in my International Reporting class. One weekend I had to shoot a volleyball game, take an economics quiz online, attend a staff meeting for The Alligator, set up a photo shoot for Sparks magazine and participate in an Asian-Awareness cultural event. I consider myself to be an erratically organized individual, and the app helps to eliminate the erratic element. There is no doubt in my mind that without the program, I would have missed, at the very least, one scheduled event.
As an active student, I am always striving to use my time as efficiently as possible. I often take notes in classes using a simple notepad program on my laptop. Not only is it quicker to type my notes instead of hand writing them, but also I am able to easily search through the material to review it. When I need to make every minute of my day count, I email myself notes and papers from my laptop to my smartphone so that I can easily review and edit the documents during my 20-minute bus ride to campus. Chad Furst
The notepad in my iPhone is a great feature for me as a student. I can easily start an essay in between classes and export my work to myself. Ultimately, I can use my iPhone to send a completed essay to my professor in a matter of seconds. One time, I had nine writing assignments due in one week, and I had to take advantage of every second. With the notepad in my iPhone, I was able to start my essays in between classes or even while having lunch. My iPhone also is my digital planner. I am involved in several student organizations. As I go through my day, I simply delete the activities that I’ve already done.
I use my laptop for all of my class assignments and to communicate with professors. I also use my laptop for research when writing my weekly opinion column for The Independent Florida Alligator. As a journalism major, I find being a columnist helps me academically because I get to apply skills I learn in the classroom in a real world setting. To be an informed writer, I keep up with the news online. On deadline day, I spend hours hopping to and from different news websites on my laptop, looking for stories that pique my interest and researching the topic I will eventually write about. I use the gmail app to communicate with my editor at The Alligator. I need emails sent to my phone because I have to be able to make edits to my story in a very timely manner. I also follow news organizations on Twitter. I occasionally get my news this way. Once my articles are published on alligator.org, I tweet the links from my smartphone.
Keeping up with dates is very important as a college student. By using the Calendar function on my phone connected to my Google calendar, not only can I keep up to date with my class schedule but every important event in my life. Notetaking is very important in college and as simple as it may sound, is a very important skill to be learned and mastered. By using Microsoft Word and a USB drive, I am able to bring notes with me that I took both in class and while watching online lectures. It’s almost like having a digital notebook with me!
Thanks for chatting! 13 • Quill & Scroll • Fall 2014
MAKING HISTORY Online educator makes journalism history for SPJ, Ashford University
By LISA ROLLINS, PH.D.
Assistant Professor, Ashford University Ashford University is making history, thanks to the recent go-ahead from the Society of Professional Journalists for AU’s journalism department to begin chartering a student chapter of SPJ — the first to be founded by online faculty and learners. For 100-plus years, SPJ “has been dedicated to encouraging a climate in which journalism can be practiced more freely and fully, stimulating high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism and perpetuating a free press,” according to the organization’s website. Lisa L. Rollins, assistant professor of journalism at AU and a member of SPJ’s Oklahoma Pro Chapter board of directors, will serve as the faculty adviser for the AU student chapter. Rollins received the green light to charter the chapter in February during her attendance at the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute in Fort Worth, where she was one of 20 chosen to attend the region’s SPJ-sponsored event. “I have founded and revitalized student SPJ chapters at on-ground universities, and I really wanted my online learners to be able to participate in this organization that has meant so much to me as a professional journalist and journalism educator,” Rollins said. A faculty member with AU, which is based in Iowa and California, since 2010, Rollins said she began requesting that AU be granted permission to charter a student SPJ chapter two years ago. Each time, she said, SPJ denied the request because they did not feel that online learners could feasibly meet all chapter requirements, including the creation and delivery of annual ethics, di-
versity and Freedom of Information programs. Nonetheless, Rollins remained determined to one day be able to offer AU’s online journalism students the chance to connect with SPJ at the student level. In turn, when she attended the journalism leadership institute in Texas, she once again petitioned SPJ’s headquarters staff to allow the university to found a student chapter. “Honestly, I figured I would be told ‘no’ again. But at the same time, I had nothing to lose, so I decided to again ask SPJ to allow me to charter a student chapter at Ashford. And this time, to my delight and surprise, they agreed!” Tara Puckey, SPJ’s chapter coordinator, said the organization has “looked at chapters for virtual students for several years and couldn’t always find a way to make it work. There were concerns about how chapter members would connect with each other and how they would host programs. However, the industry is constantly changing and it’s important that we adjust to allow SPJ to flourish in any area that is needed.” Moreover, Puckey added, “We’re excited to receive Ashford’s application for a charter and already encouraged about the success that we’re sure they will enjoy.” Rollins has begun recruiting student SPJ members, with 10 students and two AU alumna now dues-paying members at the national level. SPJ’s Indiana-based headquarters staff are slated to approve the charter. “I have benefitted by my association and membership with SPJ for years and want my students, both onground and online, to have that same opportunity,” Rollins said.
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TOWARDS JUSTICE But the fortitude of the Hazelwood East High School students who dedicated three-and-a-half years of their lives to defending the First Amendment rights of students everywhere has inspired countless others to follow their example. That students were able to have their concerns heard by the Supreme Court – and come within one vote of a ruling in their favor – isn’t disempowering. Just the opposite. And history has vindicated Cathy’s side. Years later, Principal Robert Reynolds admitted to Cathy that he had not even read the stories he censored, and that the
reasons offered in court to justify the censorship were invented after-the-fact by school lawyers. A quote made popular by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his March 1965 speech on the steps of the Alabama Capitol – a quote that visitors to the Oval Office can see today on President Barack Obama’s carpet – seems appropriate: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The judgment of history will always be on the side of those who, win or lose, make a principled stand for the rights of the less-powerful.
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A special thanks to the Quill and Scroll for providing talent and expertise in the judging of the 2014 REVERE Awards. TEACHERS: We need you as judges!
Would you like to Explore new and innovative learning solutions? Meet with fellow teachers who share your spirit of discovery? Get some free materials to use in your classroom? Become a judge! The REVERE Awards program is the most prestigious program in the learning resource community. Evaluations by teachers are critical to the judging process and are a distinguishing feature of the REVEREs. Apply today by contacting Linda Swank at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 267-351-4322. 15 â€˘ Quill & Scroll â€˘ Fall 2014
You learned in high school that journalists don’t just find great stories. We craft them through careful research and precision storytelling across multiple platforms.
But now it’s time for the next level, so the only real question is ...
Where will you be when lightning strikes? W
Lightning striking NIU’s Holmes Student Center in 2012.
e hope you’ll be at Northern Illinois University, where generations of award-winning journalists and public relations pros have trained. Whatever your niche - print, broadcast, online, photography, videography, or all of the above - our degree will prepare you to succeed in a multimedia and multicultural environment that’s changing even as you read this. Here’s a taste of what we offer: • Valuable internships in the Chicago media market • Scholarships • Summer journalism camps • Nationally recognized student newspaper • Award-winning broadcast journalism in state-of-the-art facilities • Student Film and Video Association
Visit www.niu.edu today! Facebook/NIUDeptofComm or scan this QR code.
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TIME TO CELEBRATE JEA turns 90 and launches new journalism curriculum
By SARAH NICHOLS, MJE Vice President, Journalism Education Association At the end of this month, the Journalism Education Association will celebrate its 90th birthday. When we light those imaginary candles Nov. 29, we’ll pay tribute to the largest professional organization for scholastic media advisers and journalism teachers. As an organization dedicated to helping teachers, we celebrate the ongoing development of the JEA Curriculum Initiative as well as its impact on scholastic media classrooms around the country. This initiative marks the best of what JEA is and does — utilizing the expertise of its members as educational leaders in curriculum and instruction, solving a pressing need for all types of journalism and language arts educators. By accessing the curriculum at curriculum.jea.org, beginning teachers can access tried-and-true lessons, activities and assessments to get a solid start in the journalism classroom during that “survival mode” stage, while veteran teachers will benefit from the ability to mix and match parts of each module to meet their own unique needs all as part of a national professional learning community. As school districts nationwide impose requirements tied to Common Core State Standards, we celebrate the obvious connection between student media and these college- and career-ready standards. Based on 11 content areas to encompass everything from law and ethics to multimedia broadcast, the JEA curriculum includes learner objectives, lesson plans, instructional materials, and both formative and summative assessments, including rubrics — all tied to CCSS and with connections to “the 4 C’s” journalism students demonstrate daily. We know there’s nothing new about the communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking involved in student media, but it’s reassuring to have clearly defined lesson materials to document it. The popularity of the curriculum — 93,834 pageviews based on September 2014 analytics — certainly calls for celebration, too. This fall, leaders are adding fresh examples, creating new assessment pieces and working with a professional advisory board to make sure all 11 modules are dynamic and relevant. And that aspect of relevance extends far beyond writing for the student newspaper or designing a yearbook layout. Many of our students won’t major in journalism or pursue
media careers, but two curriculum modules, in particular, go beyond student media to emphasize 21st century skills demanded by nearly every industry. In the Leadership and Team Building module, students have the opportunity to take ownership and chart their own course of action. From conducting research and analysis of other student media programs to planning and creating new materials to improve production and increase efficiency, the lessons center around students as active planners in their learning and as collaborators on a daily basis. “Being a leader means exhibiting behaviors — being an expert at something — and sharing that knowledge with others so that the entire group benefits. That’s what we want on our media staffs and frankly, that’s what we want in our society,” Valerie Kibler, CJE, leader of the Leadership and Team Building module, said. Similarly, the Entrepreneurship module goes beyond the traditional writing-editing-design aspects of journalism to address increasingly relevant skills of how to anticipate change and respond to the wants and needs of a particular group. The concept of “seeing around corners” is relevant to virtually any organization or project, and the lessons in this module target significant media topics such as the challenges of how to understand audience, improve declining sales and generate interest and revenue. “They explore how social media, public relations, branding, finances and marketing are a part of this process. Few high school classes give students the opportunity to try to understand a group of people and create a product to meet their needs,” Abrianna Nelson, CJE, leader of the Entrepreneurship module, said. That emphasis on real-world problem solving benefits students of all types across all media platforms. “The lessons challenge students to be wise and purposeful stewards of their resources to produce a product that is meaningful to their audience,” Nelson said. The resources available at curriculum.jea.org help teachers in their efforts to develop not just better communicators and future journalists but better thinkers and problem-solvers who are able to collaborate, market themselves, compete and stay relevant. That’s something to celebrate, indeed.
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SKILLS vs. SUBSTANCE
Is Journalism Education due for a makeover? By ROCKY DAILEY, PH.D. Assistant Professor Department of Journalism & Mass Communication South Dakota State University Today’s journalists wear several hats. They have duties as writers, videographers, photographers, bloggers, and statisticians, just to name a few. Journalists have become generalists, calling upon a variety of skills in their work. Part of this is due to the changing way the public accesses information, while some is due to the dwindling ranks of professional journalists. Never before have so few been expected to produce so much across so many platforms on a daily basis. While the demands of the profession have changed dramatically, many educators have been slower to respond. A recent trend in education is the development of competency-based education (CBE) programs. A competency is a combination of skills, abilities, and knowledge needed to perform a specific task. Such programs focus on the development and assessment of skills and can include dual enrollment at the high school and college level. As journalism outlets continue to reduce staff and expect more multimedia skills and story production from staff, such an education approach may have some merit. The Evolution of Competency-Based Education The idea of competency-based learning is not new. It hinges on the idea that a skill must be learned and the best way to demonstrate knowledge of that skill is to perform it successfully. The craft guilds and apprenticeships that began in the Middle Ages are probably the first examples of such a process (Spady, 1994). In recent years, the idea of CBE has been adopted by many online and distance programs, where students proceed at their own pace (Christensen & Eyring, 2011; Klein-Collins, 2012; Testa, 2008). Programs using the CBE approach focus on content mastery regardless of the time it takes for the student to complete, including allowing for multiple competency assessments until the skills are demonstrated. The target of such programs is typically either the working adult or the failed traditional college student. These programs work closely with the professions to agree on what skills are necessary, which ideally puts the student in a better position for employment upon program completion. This approach also is often less expensive than traditional higher education. President Barack Obama recently urged higher education to adopt more courses and programs based on the CBE model for the same reasons: cost, effectiveness, and employability. Learning in CBE is assessed through evaluating students’ mastery of skills by using a common criteria developed by the teacher and informed by the requirements and standards of the profession. Learning is determined through outcomes from well-defined objectives. Skills
are applied and assessed continuously during education. Most CBE programs and courses exist in the sciences, with some use in the areas of media literacy, writing, and critical thinking (Coli & Zegwaard, 2006; Klein-Collins, 2012; Lurie, 2012). These are areas in which a journalist should be skilled, so some precedent exists. The more hard and fast skills such as photography, videography and editing would theoretically be easily added to a CBE approach. Applications in Journalism Education Most journalism programs are active learning-oriented by nature. Students do not just sit around and discuss the editorial process; they go out and produce news content. They do not simply watch broadcast news stories; they produce television news content and newscasts. They do not simply watch a slideshow of news photography; they hit the streets with their camera and capture images. Programs create good journalists by making them produce journalistic content for evaluation and publication. As a result, there are standards set by the instructors to determine if such content hits the mark and a competency-based approach may not be far off from what successful programs already do. Incorporation of CBE Ideals There are some aspects of CBE that are worth considering in more traditional programs. As learning is self-paced, working professionals who have already developed a competency in a particular area could move through such areas quickly. Perhaps there is room to consider applying professional experience towards credit requirements. Development of Standards While standards could be applied to the more technical skills a journalist uses, there is also the creativity applied to storytelling that does not fit any standard. Several journalists may cover the same event, yet come away with very different yet excellent content. Who is to say that one met the standard and another did not? A strict measurement would be hard to apply to the elements of individual style, which is a part of all journalistic endeavors regardless of the type of technology used. Liberal Arts and the CBE Approach One thing to consider is what happens to students be-
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tween the lines; what is the collateral effect of a liberal arts education? Is the sum greater than the addition of the parts? Many journalism programs have rules in place that encourage students to take electives outside of their major in the hopes of creating a more well-rounded individual. How would such electives be considered in the assessment of the overall journalism student? In a CBE model, such electives would likely be eliminated for a stricter focus on skills-based courses. The CBE model has been applied in the medical and science disciplines, and the argument can be made that successful medical professionals demonstrate some skills in dealing with patients and processes that cannot be assessed through a standard measurement. However, these fields usually require students to participate in an internship or residency towards the end or after course completion. That real-world experience can serve as a place to develop those less technical aspects of the profession. Many journalism programs offer or even require an internship within the profession for successful degree completion. A CBE model based in the journalism profession would likely need to not only continue but also require such an experience to address the gap between skills and practice.
2014 QS SCHOLARS FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN APPLY AND MORE
Carley Lanich Alexa Chryssovergis George and Ophelia Gallup Scholarship awardees
Conclusion The conversation within journalism programs on how best to deal with the challenges facing both educators and the journalism profession is ongoing. It behooves journalism educators to be aware of trends in education and thoughtfully consider how new approaches might work within the discipline. Being informed of the concept of CBE and exploring options could make the difference if the idea is ever considered by administration. There must be an agreed-upon definition of standards and competencies among journalism professionals and organizations if a CBE approach can have any success. Many of the expectations of today’s journalists can be considered skills-based: proper spelling and grammar, digital photography and editing, content uploading, videography and editing, sound recording and editing, and social media posting just to name a few. But there are important aspects of a good journalist that cannot be as easily quantified. Such aspects are demonstrated in the way a journalist uses professional skills to create news content. The fiscal appeal of such programs from both the student and institutional standpoints may be too great to ignore. The crystal ball looking into the future of journalism is murky at best. Shrinking newsrooms and the move to digital delivery has caused more focus on skill areas that did not exist 20 years ago. As professionals and educators, we need to consider how best to serve both the profession and journalism students. An approach such as CBE is one option to consider.
Kaitlin Billman Ashley-Nicole Chin-Ferdinand Edward J. Nell Scholarship recipients
Rachel Horowitz Lauren Kostiuk Edward J. Nell Scholarship recipients
Starria Coppins Richard P. Johns Scholarship 19 • Quill & Scroll • Fall 2014
Amanda Weisbrod Edward J. Nell Scholarship
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