With the possibility of new legislation in Missouri and other states forbidding Facebook interaction with students I wanted to take a stand on why I believe they should not be outlawed. A Facebook group for The Little Hawk has become an invaluable resource over the last year for students to communicate, debate story ideas, share posts from other high school publications and keep everyone in the loop of what is going on. The thought of it becoming illegal is disheartening.
Below are a few of the ways the group has been used. I should also clarify that I am not friends with any of my staff members. I created the group and then added members by entering in email addresses of staff members. NO FRIENDING NEEDED.
1. Increased Communication
If there is one area that is essential for a successful journalism team it is communication. The amount of communication between staff members has increased by ten fold since the Facebook group was established.
2. Breaking News
Students reported a mountain lion roaming around Iowa City and all kinds of other stories that are happening around town. I also get fed a ton of story ideas. This is an easy way for me to share story ideas with the entire staff so they can decide if it is news to them.
3. Best of the High School Press
I constantly share great stories written by other high school publications and professional news outlets. Recently, the staff was debating what to do for the first staff editorial and I shared the Paly Voices’ first editorial of the year. It challenged them and gave them a number of ideas.
4. It’s Safe
Everyone on staff can see everything so there isn’t a risk of “private” communication occuring between a teacher and a student. I do not recommend friending students.
5. Builds a Team
To often conversations in the news lab happen between a small group of people. Everyone is in on the conversation on Facebook. Everyone has a voice and everyone can be part of the team. It is also really cool to see everyone’s photo on the admin page.