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2010: A ‘feel good’ report card

May 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Diana Hadley

Publications advisers aren’t exactly like coaches, but I know most spend a little time at the end of the year tallying “wins and losses.” How many issues of the newspaper were true victories, and how many were at the best teachable moments? How many students improved writing or design skills and reporting techniques from August to end of May? How well did the publications serve the students? How necessary is a little vacation time?

As I review the larger journalism picture from “IHSPA Central,” I feel good about many things. Victories include the opportunity of many students to attend a fall convention that featured Tom French and a variety of sessions. Student officers helped plan and speak at the fourth annual First Amendment Symposium where they shared the stage at the Statehouse with career journalist Nick Clooney. Students competed with their peers in a variety of categories in newspaper and yearbook.

The biggest challenge of 2009-2010 has been the fear that many journalism programs might be eliminated as the economy forced both public and private schools to slash budgets. Some schools have reduced stipends, combined staffs and/or increased class sizes; but thanks to teachers who are already busy but willing to give more, most of the programs are going to survive.

It would be impossible to thank all of the people who contributed to IHSPA projects this year, but it is important to name several people who will not return to their traditional roles in the fall and honor the nearly 140 years their collective careers have given literally thousands of high school journalists.

After 38 years advising publications at Munster High School, Nancy Hastings will start a new chapter in her life; and after 41 years of experience that included Marion, Columbus East and Ben Davis high schools, Janet McKinney will retire from Fishers High School.

We also want to thank Marilyn Weaver as she retires from Ball State University Department of Journalism where she provided so many positive opportunities for students and teachers across the country for decades.

Both Erin Hawkins and Laura Moore will leave Brebeuf and New Palestine high schools respectively to serve as full-time moms for a while as each welcomes a third child into their families.

On behalf of everyone at IHSPA, I also want to express sympathy to the Martinsville High School publications department upon the death of Maureen Johnson in February. Maureen taught a total of 48 years, first at George Washington High School, and then at Martinsville where she was newspaper adviser until 1992 and yearbook adviser for the entire 43 years. A Martinsville High School student will receive a partial scholarship for a summer workshop from a fund established by IHSPA advisers in memory of Maureen.

I hope everyone will continue to check the IHSPA Web site for information about opportunities and issues throughout the summer. Newspaper Harvey Award entries are due in June. The forms are available on the Web site. The fall convention will be October 21-22, 2010, at Franklin College. Matthew Tully, columnist for the Indianapolis Star who has led a continuing series called the Manual Project, will be the featured speaker. We hope many of you will plan to bring students for this special opportunity.

Except for June 1-15, IHSPA will remain “E-vailable” throughout the summer, and everyone is welcome to contact my cell 317.341.4360 when I am out of the office. It is always good to hear from all of you as you plan your victories for another year. Have a great summer.