Archive for January, 2010

When Journalism Becomes The News

January 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Diana Hadley

It is one of those weeks when journalism doesn’t just report the news. Several journalism-related issues are the news, and they can lead to great springboards for story ideas and class discussion.

Google’s confrontation with China over Internet censorship, the recent Supreme Court decision that allows corporations a greater opportunity to be involved with political campaigns, and the Tim Tebow Super Bowl advertisement all provide a variety of angles that students may want to discuss and cover for their newspapers.

Enough has been written about all three issues to provide students with resources from which to expand coverage and debate the effect of each on their generation and their school or community.

All three issues have money angles that could be linked to the economic coverage students have been doing. Would Google be less likely to take the high road in China if they had a more lucrative operation there? Would executives be less likely to accept a cause ad in a better economy? Will corporations be more likely to try to buy elections?

In addition to usual sources, Steven Cobert’s comparison of Morgan Stanley and Stanley Morgan provides an excellent way to teach satirical coverage of a political issue. At one time I might have hesitated to mention Stewart or Cobert as teaching tools, but mainstream journalists admit that his “fake news” often uncovers truth; and Stewart now admits that perhaps his show is the broadcast version of the editorial cartoon, a topic in itself.

Super Bowl advertisements provide good homework assignments every year because they use a variety of persuasive techniques at the same time they are as entertaining as the game (even when the Indianapolis Colts aren’t one of the teams).  Whether that venue is an appropriate place for cause advertisements is already a hot topic among multiple groups. What do your students think?

We continue to be lucky that our lesson plans and publications’ goals provide such great opportunities for our students to analyze important issues. Please share examples of these or any other recent topics that your students have decided to cover.


Tough Times Should Be ‘We’ Times

January 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Diana Hadley

Several years ago in the middle of a lesson for my journalism class, a hand shot up from a student with an unusual question: “When you say we want you to plan carefully for an interview, who is we?” It was a good question since it appeared that I was the only teacher in the room.

I didn’t know exactly when I had started thinking in a plural context, but the question made me realize that we included the colleagues I had met through a variety of journalism events. I had bonded with them and their teaching methods to the point that they had become part of my instruction. It was comforting to know that we were in this lesson and many other issues together.

IHSPA would like to promote that we feeling for all advisers, and there may be no better time than when most of us are worried about the effects of budget cuts, curricular changes, technology challenges and a myriad of other concerns.

Consequently, we are promoting adviser social gatherings that emphasize getting to know each other. Shoptalk is allowed but not required.

I had my first chance to try out one of these events last night when five advisers from Indianapolis Public Schools met with me at an Indy restaurant for pizza.

Three hours later everyone knew each other much better. In addition to sharing information about backgrounds, interests and families, the group exchanged E-mails and made plans to meet regularly. They even suggested a name for their new “alliance.”

Even though schools provide plenty of colleagues, some of whom become close friends, it’s hard for people who aren’t publications advisers to identify with some of the challenges that publication programs include. When the phone in my office rings between 2:30 and 4:00 p.m., it is often an adviser who has made it to the end of another day and just wants to share with someone who has walked the same path.

Answering the phone and receiving a variety of E-mails from all of you is an enjoyable part of my job, but I hope some of you are interested in fostering a local group of advisers that creates a supportive we for all of you. Let me know if I can help.

Clooney To Keynote Symposium

January 18, 2010 2 comments

Diana Hadley

Blogs generally focus on one topic, but there are multiple news items to share with this one.

The first is the announcement that Nick Clooney, keynote speaker at last fall’s national JEA/NSPA convention in Washington D.C., is going to be our special guest speaker at this year’s First Amendment Symposium, March 3, at the Indiana Statehouse. In his convention speech, Clooney joked that his obituary would focus on his famous son, George, and sister, Rosemary; but his own career as a journalist provides interesting stories and great advice for young journalists. He also feels passionate about the First Amendment and will focus on its importance at the symposium.

Anyone who hasn’t received a mailing with specifics about symposium competition should contact me. There are two new categories we think your students will enjoy–a poster design about the First Amendment and a postage stamp contest that includes five separate stamp designs representing each of the freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment. Feel welcome to invite your school’s art department students to participate in this competition.

We are also excited to partner with Society of Professional Journalists this year to offer an essay contest that includes a national level of competition and $1,000 award. More information about all contests is included in the recent mailing.

On the other side of all this good news is concern about the many ways statewide budget cuts in education are going to affect our schools in general and journalism programs specifically. It is so important that high school newspaper challenges. I hope staffs will send PDFs of the budget coverage from your student papers, so that we can share with others. IHSPA will post outstanding examples.

We know that journalism programs are going to suffer when the economy suffers, but I also believe we will find ways to survive if we work together. Let me know if IHSPA can help your situation.