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Some Strategies For Tough Times

March 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Diana Hadley

Correspondence from across the country indicates that most journalism programs are faced with a variety of challenges due to budget cuts whether the programs represent large schools or small, private or public, new or old.

Some programs have been eliminated, and many will experience some form of downsizing with newspaper and yearbook or journalism and publications scheduled into combined classes. In some schools, stipends for work done after school hours will be cut or reduced.

One practical way to avoid some of the slashing is to do the math. Make sure that staff sizes justify a class. If the numbers fall below anything considered a full class, administrators are tempted to combine or eliminate the classes. That means advisers may have to do more active recruiting than they usual. Everyone should remember that just because the guidance department is continuing to schedule students as they have been doesn’t guarantee they won’t make changes in mid-summer or even a week before school begins.

I’m not sure it makes anyone feel any better to know that many are clinging to the same lifeboat as they try to survive, but I’m impressed that most advisers are looking past their own frustrations to do the best thing for students.

Although IHSPA continues to promote media literacy classes for all English classes as additional opportunities for mass media education at all levels, keep in mind that some teachers in other states are already thinking that English classes might be a place where traditional journalism courses can relocate to survive curriculum changes.

Everyone is encouraged to contact me as they find ways to work through this era, and I will share with others.

Additional resources: A strong case is made here for moving high school publications online.

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