Guide High School Journalism: A Practical Guide

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What instigated your love for putting pen to paper? My love for putting pen to paper started early. Before I could even read, I begged my mom to teach me. Once I could, I loved writing stories. When I started asking more practical questions— how do I earn money with my skills? You get to learn every day, meet interesting people, write and speak about new ideas, and occasionally get a sweet swag bag. How do you know you love it?


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I got undergraduate journalism and sociology degrees from New York University. I recommend pursuing a journalism degree and double majoring in something wildly different to diversify yourself. If I could do it again, I would double in computer science. Still, journalism is a doing field. At the end of the day, you need to be able to talk to people, see trends, organize your research and communicate it in an engaging way.

Online, the editing process is changing. More and more, the onus is on individual journalists to come up with the ideas and report, write, edit, publish and promote the work themselves.

Although media is evolving rapidly, I still put journalism jobs in two buckets: broadcast and print. Online writers are now asked to create their own web videos, and print writers generally are often asked to go on the air to promote their work. By print I mean physical and digital newspapers and magazines, wire services and websites. Helpful resources are mediabistro , JournalismJobs and Indeed. One good option for young, aspiring journalists is to get in the door at a wire service like the Associated Press or Dow Jones.

Student Journalism | A Guide to Rights and Responsibilities - The New York Times

They administer news tests through universities and, if they like you, place you in one of their markets. While I had different plans, this is a great opportunity for many. While an accountant or nurse can find jobs all around the country—and world for that matter—the market a salaried journalist works in greatly impacts their career. Most national media companies in the U.

Why Student Journalism Matters

When I was in school, the traditional wisdom was that you start out in a small market and work your way to a major market like New York. However, I was already living and working in media internships in New York and thought it would be better to start in the biggest market. Both strategies work, but know that there are more journalism job opportunities here and in urban centers than anywhere else. This is a competitive field.

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Online, you need traffic, social media audience and compelling work. You need to bleed story ideas and execute them well. In college, I did two internships at major magazines—one paid full-time position for three months and one for-credit part-time position for five months. I wrote for both the publications while there.


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I also wrote for the school paper and did freelance work. That meant when I started looking for full-time salaried jobs I had a portfolio of work and work experience at big brand names. My first salaried job was as an editorial assistant, in which I also wrote for the magazine and website. I was promoted to reporter a year and half later. Some journalists remain reporters for their entire careers, getting bigger and bigger assignments.

Some become editors and move up the ladder as managers and editorial decision-makers. Tackle edgy topics — but bend over backward for balance.

Reward Yourself

It is never legal for a public school to censor a student publication just because its contents will be controversial or will offend the sensibility of the most delicate-eared reader. So students should not shy away from writing about political and social issues that concern them. But they should anticipate adverse reaction and — with the opportunity to publish a response potentially a month or a summer away — make a special effort to incorporate diverging viewpoints within the same issue.

The Internet offers a bottomless feast of photos, videos and songs that may be freely viewed and enjoyed. Proofread, proofread, proofread — and then proofread some more. Careless mistakes undermine the credibility of a publication and make it much harder to defend its integrity in the event of a legal battle. Steer into the headwind of censorship. Difficult as it is, students should resist the impulse to self-censor.

The journalism that stands up best in a dispute — whether in a court of law or in the court of public opinion — is not frivolous and fluffy journalism, but substantive, topical journalism that addresses serious issues of public concern. Love it! I only wish teachers made more so I could make a generous donation to their efforts. You forgot Kansas. Our principal was furious and immediately shut down the paper. Once the media found out that our school cancelled the paper because of the article, our school re-opened the paper. Thank you, First Amendment! Students should remember that stories censored at school may find a home in the local community newspaper.

This gets the story out there and makes foolish administrators look like, well, fools. See next articles. The Daltonian A revised issue of The Daltonian from October , published after school officials confiscated an earlier issue.