“Hello Play Newsmag from Maize, Kansas!
“Like the other thirty or so members of our staff here at the Central Focus, I was assigned a high school publication to review. Luckily for me, I was assigned yours!” wrote staff reporter Ryan Silver from FHCToday.com.
For Scholastic Journalism Week, the staff of Francis Howell Central’s FHCtoday used the jeadigitalmedia.org list of high school’s on-line to do a virtual high-five. The staff’s hashtag, #26ActsofJKindness, was inspired by Anne Curry’s work after the Newtown shooting.
“We decided what to admire based off of a list on JEA Digital Media that had been created in the past year or two that listed high school news publications and their Twitter accounts,” said Matthew Schott, publications adviser for Francis Howell Central H.S. in St. Charles, Mo.
Following is an email Q&A with Schott of the staff’s experience.
How did you and your staff decide which publications to “admire”? We decided what to admire based off of a list on JEA Digital Media that had been created in the past year or two that listed high school news publications and their Twitter accounts. I think almost all of the 32 (that’s how many we actually did, because that’s how many students are on the newspaper staff this year) publications were selected. We wanted to make sure they all had a digital presence because we wanted to hopefully interact with them and be able to tweet the link to their account.
How many responses were received on the Twitter hashtag? We probably got responses from half of the schools or the advisers. Mark Newton tweeted the link out from the JEA account as well. Mostly just a thanks from them. Hopefully, this can be a continuing project for us. It’d be nice to be able to do yearbooks or literary magazines, but those are a little bit harder to come by since you usually need hard copies for those.
What do you think your own students learned from the experience? The idea behind this actually came from my staff. They wanted to do something with the 26 Acts of Kindness things Ann Curry started after the Newtown shooting – I’ve been blessed to have students who are socially conscious and giving of their talents and time – but couldn’t come up with a good “normal” story for our paper or website. We were brainstorming SJW idea and we kind of hit on this. At minimum, I hope my students were able to see that there are a lot of other good student publications out there doing great work. It’s so easy to get sort of zeroed in on what you are doing, so hopefully this opened their eyes a bit to what else is out there. I hope they also felt good about doing this. It was nice to see them provide some positive feedback to their fellow student journalists and hopefully they felt good doing that.
Is there is anything else you thought I would ask, or you would like to tell me something else about it? We’re hoping that other staffs get into doing this. I know a lot of the time people only harp on the media and are critical of what we do, but this was something good that hopefully made the other student at those publications feel good about their work. We’d like it if each of the publications we wrote about could possibly find another student publication and sort move the ball further down the field.