Meet the 2015 Fellows

Don Anderson

Don Anderson

Don Anderson teaches at a small public school in northwest Oregon. Besides journalism, he teaches college English, AP chemistry and forestry. He got his love of classics from Reed College, his love of science from Oregon State University and his love of teaching from George Fox University. Nine times a year, his students create a publication, The Jay, which has a circulation of about 1,000. The Jay fulfills the need of a small newspaper and literary magazine for the community of Jewell, where he teaches. He also works for The Daily Astorian, a local newspaper in Astoria, Oregon.

Greg Anderson

Greg Anderson

Greg Anderson has been involved with scholastic journalism for 28 years. As a young English teacher, he was asked whether he would take over the student newspaper, and he naively said, “Sure; that sounds interesting.” Little did he know that his life would never be the same – but for the better! He advised the student newspaper at San Manuel High School and Sedona Red Rock High School in Arizona and currently advises the Arapahoe Herald newspaper, the Calumet yearbook and the Spear broadcast and video team at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. He launched the student media website ArapahoeXtra.com this year.

Lindsay Benedict

Lindsay Benedict

Lindsay Benedict is in her fourth year of teaching a full schedule of journalism and broadcast journalism classes at McLean High School in northern Virginia, where she advises The Highlander newsmagazine/website and WMHS News, a live morning show. She loves working with students to create multiple publications and was honored to receive the JEA Rising Star award this year. Lindsay received her undergraduate degree in English/international studies/Spanish (with a minor in film studies) from the University of Idaho and earned her Master of Education from Portland State University. Her hobbies include traveling, reading/writing, and hanging out with her husband and two cats.

Tracy Brogelman

Tracy Brogelman

Tracy Brogelman has been teaching for 10 years at Grafton High School in Grafton, Wisconsin. She teaches English 9; English 10/American literature; and professional writing, a course that produces the yearbook and an online news magazine. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Minnesota and a master’s in teaching from Cardinal Stritch University, where she has also taught in the post-bac education program. Her husband, Ryan, also teaches at Grafton, and they have two children, ages 6 and 8. In her spare time, she tries to keep up on reading, running and DIY home projects.

Kristi Calvery

Kristi Calvery

Kristi Calvery is an English and journalism teacher at Conrad High School in Conrad, Montana. She graduated from Conrad High School in 2002, received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Great Falls in 2007 and finished her master’s degree in May of 2015. She is the adviser for the high school newspaper, The Cowboy Chronicles. In her free time, Kristi enjoys traveling, camping, writing and reading.

Sandra Coyer

Sandra Coyer

Sandra Coyer is an Advanced Placement senior literature teacher and publication adviser at Puyallup High School in Puyallup, Washington. She has advised The Viking Vanguard newspaper for the past 16 years and its website counterpart for the past three years. Next year, she will be teaching Broadcast Journalism I &II, a course she designed, for the first time. She graduated with a communications degree from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University in 1998 and a master’s in teaching from Grand Canyon University in 2004.

Marissa D'Orazio

Marissa D’Orazio

Marissa D’Orazio teaches English 11 and journalism at Centreville High School in Fairfax County, just outside of Washington, D.C. She is the adviser of Centreville’s student-run newspaper, The Sentinel. Although she previously sponsored a middle school publication, 2014-15 marked her first school year as a high school adviser. She graduated from University of Virginia, where she worked as an editor on The Cavalier Daily and earned a bachelor’s degree in English. After graduation, she began teaching secondary English and earned her master’s in education from UVA, as well. She is currently a Master of Fine Arts candidate in fiction writing at George Mason University.

Leslie Dennis

Leslie Dennis

Leslie Dennis is the assistant director the South Carolina Scholastic Press Association and Southern Interscholastic Press Association, which includes the Carolina Journalism Institute. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in English with a creative writing concentration and a master’s degree in American literature. She is an avid reader, especially of modern American literature, and film buff with a propensity toward 1940s and ’50s foreign films. Most of her time outside scholastic journalism is spent with her husband and three cats.

Kaitlin Edgerton

Kaitlin Edgerton

Kaitlin Edgerton is an English teacher at Madison High School in Madison Heights, Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in English and Master of Arts in Teaching in secondary education from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She currently advises The Aquilla, a print and online newspaper, and The Madisonian, a yearbook publication, at Madison High School. She is a member of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. She regularly participates in journalism conferences at Michigan State University and has participated in MIPA’s judging day. In addition to teaching journalism, she teaches AP literature and composition and ninth-grade literacy and is the adviser of the National Honor Society.

Marcia Erickson

Marcia Erickson

Marcia Erickson is a seventh-grade world history teacher and a ninth-grade introduction to journalism teacher at Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. She advises the school newspaper, Eye of the Tiger, and the yearbook club, Tiger Tales. She also serves as a library assistant. She received her Master of Education from Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, and she graduated from Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Science in Education in comprehensive social studies with a psychology concentration and an English minor. She is also certified in English, communications and library science. Marcia is an avid geocacher and enjoys travel.

Michelle Fields

Michelle Fields

Michelle Fields has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in education. After a 12-year career in the insurance industry where she supervised employee publications, she took time off with her children. During this time, she worked part-time as a reporter for a local weekly newspaper, The Vermont Standard. Michelle began teaching high school English in 2006 and started a school newspaper, Woodstock Union High School’s The Buzz, in Woodstock, Vermont, a year later at the request of several students. When not teaching journalism, English I or AP language and composition, Michelle loves to hike, read, cook and travel.

Susan Gray

Susan Gray

Susan Gray has advised The Stampede newspaper and The Hoofbeats yearbook at Wichita Southeast for 17 years. She received a Bachelor of Science in English and journalism and a Master of Arts in English from Emporia State University and a teaching license from Wichita State. The Stampede was named All-Kansas twice, and Hoofbeats was featured in the Jostens Look Book twice. She received the Ad Astra advising award from the Kansas Scholastic Press Association in 2012. Gray worked externships with The Wichita Eagle and The Newton Daily Kansan. Married with three daughters, she enjoys music, writing poetry and running. She ran her first marathon last year at 47.

Kristen Hamilton

Kristen Hamilton

Kristen Hamilton has been an English teacher for the past 10 years and currently teaches language and literature honors, college literature, multicultural literature and writing enrichment at Roslyn High School in Roslyn, New York. She also advises the school newspaper, The Hilltop Beacon. Next year, she will be launching a journalism class, which will be a first for Roslyn High School. She received her bachelor’s from the University of Chicago and her master’s in education from Queens College. Outside of teaching, she is an enthusiastic runner who enjoys spending as much time outdoors and at the beach as possible.

Laura Harrawood

Laura Harrawood

Laura Harrawood grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, and earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism at the University of Montana in Missoula and her Master of Education in English education from Vanderbilt University. She moved to Lexington, Virginia, in 1989 for her first teaching job with Rockbridge County Schools; earned a Master of Arts in creative writing from Hollins University; and has taught for 26 years in the same system, focusing on junior English, creative writing, expository writing and journalism. She founded the Rockbridge County High School student newspaper, The Prowler, in 1993 and started an online version of the paper this year. Divorced, she loves skiing and riding horses.

Niki Hively

Niki Hively

Niki Hively is a second-year journalism teacher at Newton High School in Newton, Iowa. She graduated from Central College in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and English. She then completed a Master of Arts degree in secondary education in 2013 and began teaching high school journalism. She now teaches graphic design, photojournalism and introduction to journalism and advises two publications, The Cardinal Chronicle (newspaper) and The Newtonia (yearbook). She also coaches the speech team and does some freelance photography work. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, camping and boating.

Michelle Huss

Michelle Huss

Michelle Huss has taught for nine years at two different schools. She currently teaches 21st century journalism, computer applications and computer graphics in addition to advising The Tiger Print newspaper and Reflections yearbook at Blue Valley High School in Overland Park, Kansas. After graduating from Kansas State University with a degree in journalism and business education, she earned her master’s degree in business education from Emporia State University. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys photography and traveling. She also likes to work in the garden and spend time at the lake.

Jordyn Kiel

Jordyn Kiel

Jordyn Kiel just completed her first year of teaching and advising in the high school newsroom. After graduating from the University of Missouri in 2013, she came right back to her high school alma mater to take on an incredible opportunity teaching with her own high school adviser. She teaches all introductory-level journalism and photojournalism courses and advises the Excalibur yearbook. Although she’s just beginning her teaching career, she’s excited to see where the ever-changing world of journalism takes her. Her time away from students usually involves family and St. Louis Cardinals baseball.

Peter Laub

Peter Laub

Peter Laub advises The Lasso at George Mason High School in Falls Church, Virginia, where he also teaches journalism, creative writing and English. He has a Bachelor of Arts in communication from La Salle University and a Master of Education in English education from The Ohio State University. He devotes his free time to his garden, baseball games and trying to not be a total screw-up as a father.

Lina Mai

Lina Mai

Lina Mai has been an educator in New York City for over a decade. Currently, she teaches journalism and humanities at Frank McCourt High School, located in Manhattan. She advises the publication of a print and online student newspaper, McCourt News. Born in Belarus, she was raised near Princeton, New Jersey. She has a master’s degree in education through the NYC Teaching Fellows program. In addition, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Cornell University and a master’s degree in journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

Christina Mitro

Christina Mitro

Christina Mitro teachers English 10 at Langley High School in northern Virginia, where she also is the adviser for The Saxon Scope, Langley’s student-run newsmagazine. She has an undergraduate degree in vocal performance from The Catholic University of America and holds her Master of Education from George Mason University. When she is not in the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her husband and her year-old daughter, Lucy. They enjoy spending time on the patio at Starbucks or splashing around at the local swimming pool.

Rebekah Morse

Rebekah Morse

Rebekah Morse has advised high school publications in Kansas for 10 years, three at McPherson High School and seven at Wichita High School Northwest. She teaches 21st century journalism, fundamentals of graphic design, photo imaging, digital media and technology, and project management for communications. She advises the Northwest Explorer newsmagazine and website, as well as Northwest’s yearbook, the Silvertip. She is a mother of two, runs to manage her stress levels and enjoys photography.

Ryan Rivera

Ryan Rivera

Ryan Rivera earned a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Southern California in 2008. In a very short journalism career consisting mostly of internships, Ryan reported for the Orange County Register; OC Weekly; Huffington Post; and The Cape Argus in Cape Town, South Africa. Ryan thought he left journalism behind in 2009 when he began teaching math, but when the veteran journalism teacher at Burbank High School retired in 2013, Ryan threw his hat in the ring and took over as adviser for The Burbank Bulldog student newspaper. His current teaching schedule consists of four periods of geometry and one period of journalism.

Lindsey Ross

Lindsey Ross

Lindsey Ross has been an adviser for five years and just completed her first year at Gardner Edgerton High School in Gardner, Kansas. She advises The Blazer newspaper and The Trailblazer yearbook and teaches 21st century journalism and teen leadership. Ross received her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and is working toward her master’s in journalism education through Kent State University. She also works for the University of Kansas athletic department tutoring student athletes. When she is not working or doing homework, she enjoys watching TV/Netflix, reading and snuggling with her Yorkie, or attending KU sporting events.

Julie Rowse

Julie Rowse

Julie Rowse teaches journalistic writing, photojournalism and publication design, and popular culture studies at Bellevue West High School in Bellevue, Nebraska. She advises the print newspaper, The West Wind, and the news website, The Thunderbeat. She received her Bachelor of Science in secondary education, language arts endorsment, from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and her Master of Arts in popular culture from Bowling Green State University. Julie also teaches piano lessons and serves on the education committee of a local nonprofit cinema. She enjoys reading and watching movies, and she loves watching sports.

Jacob Savishinsky

Jacob Savishinsky

Jacob Savishinsky is a New York native, now in Seattle at Raisbeck Aviation High School. He is a co-founder of the school (2004) and founder of the school’s Phoenix Flyer newspaper in 2009. In addition to journalism, he has taught social studies, civics, government and modern world history to freshmen and sophomores and literature to sophomores and juniors. He is nationally board certified in social studies and facilitates cohorts of teachers pursuing their certification. Outside of school, he is a professional musician and music producer, as well as a husband and father of a beautiful 2-year-old daughter.

Sharon Schmidt

Sharon Schmidt

Sharon Schmidt is a teacher and associate union delegate to the Chicago Teachers Union at Steinmetz, a neighborhood high school where she teaches English and journalism and advises the Steinmetz Star. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English education and a Master of Arts in reading. She is a reporter for Substance, a newspaper covering public education, edited by her husband. She has a 26-year-old stepson and two sons, ages 10 and 13, who she has opt out of most standardized tests. She coaches park district baseball, teaches Sunday School at Loop Church, reads lots of fiction and is devoted to her dog.

C.E. Sikkenga

C.E. Sikkenga

C.E. Sikkenga recently wrapped up his 23rd year teaching at Grand Haven High School in West Michigan. For the past 15 of those years, he has advised THE BUCS’ BLADE, GHHS’ student publication. A past president of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association, he currently serves as the organization’s newspaper chair. A 1992 graduate of Michigan State University, he roots rabidly for the Spartans and Detroit Tigers. With what’s left of his free time, he can often be found crate-digging as he haunts his favorite record stores or enjoying leisurely strolls with his ancient beagle, Booker.

Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith advises the Cardinal Columns and Fondy Today at Fond du Lac High School, where he has taught English and journalism since 2010. Before becoming an educator, he spent two years as a reporter for a weekly newspaper in suburban Washington, D.C. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Education from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also currently a member of the board of directors for both the Kettle Moraine Press Association and the Northeastern Wisconsin Scholastic Press Association and a member of the JEA Principal Outreach Committee.

Kelly Sparks

Kelly Sparks

Kelly Sparks, a 24-year veteran teacher, has taught English and journalism at South Ripley High School in Versailles, Indiana, all of her teaching career. She currently teaches English 9, English 9 Honors, beginning journalism and advanced journalism. The Raiders Riot is the publication she advises and is in her first full year of publishing an online school newspaper. She is a graduate of Hanover College with a communications major and an English minor. Hobbies include watching her children compete in a multitude of sports and other activities and scrapbooking.

Nichole Stanford

Nichole Stanford

Nichole Stanford currently teaches English and creative writing at Madison High School in Rexburg, Idaho. She is excited to start a journalism program this upcoming year. Her students will be running their publication through the school’s website and social media pages. She has her Bachelor of Science in English education and feels lucky to have worked as a newspaper editor for a year after graduation. One of her most interesting experiences was starting a small newspaper run by her students while teaching at a juvenile corrections facility. Her hobbies include following her four children around in their activities and reading.

Rob Sterner

Rob Sterner

A jack-of-all trades, Rob Sterner has taught thirteen different courses in his 11 years of teaching English at Hershey High School. Currently, he teaches college preparatory English 10, Journalism I and science fiction literature. Next year, he takes on Journalism II and the school newspaper, The Broadcaster, which is moving online. He is an assistant cross country coach and a blogger for the Center for Teaching Quality, a national education research and policy nonprofit. He found his way to teaching journalism through his technical background thanks to stints as a wedding photographer’s assistant and as a self-taught digital filmmaker.

TJ VanDyke

TJ VanDyke

TJ VanDyke has been teaching high school for six years and is currently teaching advanced English 10 and journalism. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in education from the University of Tennessee. TJ returned to teach at his alma mater, Dyersburg High School, just two years ago and was bestowed the honor of being named sponsor of the Trojan Torch, an award-winning newsmagazine, when its long-standing sponsor retired. When not working with his students, TJ acts as youth minister at his congregation and loves spending time at home with his four daughters, ages 2-12, and his wonderful wife of 15 years.

Jason Wawrzeniak

Jason Wawrzeniak

An English teacher for 10 years at Penn-Trafford High School, Jason Wawrzeniak has also taught journalism and been adviser of the school newspaper, The Warrior, for the past nine. Prior to his teaching career, Jason worked in public relations for four years after graduating with a political science and English degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He currently resides in suburban Pittsburgh with his wife, Heather, and two children, Truman, 5, and Harper, 2, where he remains stubbornly loyal to Pitt’s perennially disappointing football and basketball teams.

Stephanie Weiss

Stephanie Weiss

Stephanie Weiss joined the teaching ranks 11 years ago at McDowell High School in Erie, Pennsylvania, where she uses her degree in journalism/mass communications, master’s degree in education and past experience as a writer/editor to create a hands-on atmosphere for her students. Her classes launched the school’s award-winning Trojan Times Online website in 2011. Others create video news for the Trojan News Network that broadcasts to McDowell classrooms daily. A recent addition to McDowell Media has been The Trojan Blitz, a bi-weekly sports news channel on YouTube. When she is not teaching, she enjoys photography and being crafty.

Joanne Wyant

Joanne Wyant

Joanne Wyant teaches ninth grade enriched English and writing for media at Stow-Munroe Falls High School, located in Stow, Ohio. She just completed her 14th year of teaching, and during this time, she has been been the adviser of the high school’s newspaper, The Stohion. She also taught and advised the news program, Stow Student News, her first six years as a teacher. She received both her bachelor’s degree in education and her master’s degree in administration from the University of Akron. She enjoys coaching her daughters’ softball teams and being involved with her four children’s activities.

The last hurrah: 35 teachers represent the last group of ASNE Kent State Fellows

Teachers from 22 states and the District of Columbia are part of the final year of the Reynolds High School Journalism Institute at Kent State University, a tradition that started in 2001. Although funders changed over the years, content became more digital and this year’s event hosts the teachers on campus for one week instead of the previous two, the basics haven’t changed all that much.

The 2015 group will still have a mix of theory and hands-on practice to help them launch new media outlets at their schools or reinvigorate ones already there. They will form maestro teams and get experience creating multimedia storytelling packages, something their students will be doing in the future.

In five weeks of online training before they arrive on campus, the teachers will have readings, activities and synchronous chat sessions between May 19 and June 19. These will give them a solid foundation of law and ethics, news values, advising approaches and more. They will also get to know each other some before they arrive in Kent July 12.

“This will help them jump-start their learning and mean they can dive right into their projects,” institute director Candace Perkins Bowen said.

Teaching the group along with Bowen are lead instructors John Bowen, H.L.Hall and Susan Hathaway Tantillo. They’ll be joined with newsroom and classroom pros like Susan Kirkman Zake, Bruce Zake and David Foster, who will help with the video and audio the teams will create. The Institute is administered by the American Society of News Editors through its Youth Journalism Initiative and funded with a generous grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

ASNE focuses on leadership development and journalism-related issues. Founded in 1922 as a nonprofit professional organization, ASNE promotes fair, principled journalism, defends and protects First Amendment rights, and fights for freedom of information and open government. Leadership, innovation, diversity and inclusion in coverage and the journalism work force, youth journalism and the sharing of ideas are also key ASNE initiatives. ASNE’s Youth Journalism Initiative, launched in 2000, provides journalism-related training and resources for teachers and students across the curriculum. Its goal is for every student to learn why news matters and acquire the skills needed to succeed as 21st Century citizens.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, it has committed more than $150 million to journalism initiatives nationally.

#CharlestonStrong, #TakeItDown: Local news and social media

By Leslie Dennis

When Governor Nikki Haley took office four years ago, she pushed for employees of government offices to answer the phone with the phrase, “It’s a great day in South Carolina.” My friends and I always found this problematic because 1: the phrase should not be said at some government agencies (victim services?  I would be offended if I called and heard that) and 2: it’s South Carolina (eye roll from the native typing this) and S.C. does not have a have “great day” history.

I often use this phrase as an ironic response to a local embarrassment that goes viral or makes the national headlines (and there are many) whether it’s education, domestic violence rates or the “that dumb state” narrative that often gets broadcast and disseminated.

Over the past few months – starting with the shooting of unarmed Walter Scott by a North Charleston police officer to last week’s tragic murder of nine people in a historic AME church in downtown Charleston – South Carolina has become a part of the national discussion about the criminal justice system and race relations. Hashtags, computer graphics, Facebook groups and events, and viral videos of pundits, talking heads, comedians and social commentators of and about the recent shooting have inundated my social media feeds. Even when watching the local and national news, you cannot escape the references to social media comments, posts, etc. about the story – or any story.

As the news story unfolded, a specific issue – beyond the murders – became the focus of local rancor, which has been simmering for decades – the Confederate flag. Yesterday, the same “great day” Governor Haley held a news conference, flanked by presidential hopeful Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Tim Scott – the first African American Senator elected by South Carolina, and other state leaders, to call for the Confederate flag to be removed from the state house grounds.

For the past few days, I have been trying to digest the events and have binged on news reports and stories. My best friend Charity lives in Charleston and is black. Her mother attends Mother Emanuel’s sister church and was supposed to attend a conference, which rotates locations each year, at the church in a few weeks. I met Charity during the summer before our senior year in high school when we were paired up at random to be roommates at the Governor’s School summer camp held at College of Charleston, a few blocks from Mother Emanuel. There is a less-than-six degrees of separation in most South Carolinians’ relationships to the shooting.

With social media, the circle seems to have become smaller, the awareness quicker. People from across the country use #CharlestonStrong and post articles from opinion sources on various subjects relating to the news. Confederate flag supporters and opponents have volleyed images, memes and stories about history, race and even TV shows (a Dukes of Hazzard argument appeared in a Facebook event for a rally to bring the flag down I “attended”). USC’s president, athletic director, basketball coach, and former quarterback Connor Shaw all took to Twitter to #takeitdown.

Social media has brought awareness and community, spurred discussion and initiated action; however, it has also allowed people to post misinformation and spout hate on both sides.

As a consumer and producer of social media, I have been torn the past few days about how online content has played a part in and relayed these events. But I keep reading and weighing it all with skepticism.

Figuring out what we’re for (online)

by Matthew Smith

I think if you polled my group of students from this most recent year and asked them to describe what the Cardinal Columns is for (what our audience should expect from us), they would say that we investigate topics that other people are unwilling or unable to dig into (that we provide a voice to those without a voice or a forum for it). I don’t think that would have always been the case, but as we have moved to more of a newsmagazine and as I’ve pushed the idea of covering such topics (my initial groups of students 4-5 years ago were obsessed with covering the same-old, tired things, and I really decided I’d put a lot of my energy into changing that culture), it has come to dominate our product and the atmosphere in the newsroom. Now that that idea has taken ahold so completely, I definitely think it’s time to put some more energy into other aspects of our journalistic mission (probably beyond time, actually).

That’s part of my reason for joining the institute this summer . . . to broaden our focus and practices. The fact that I’ve gotten so familiar the past couple years to focusing on investigating larger or different or somewhat controversial topics makes it even harder to imagine what social media can be for. If my staff has moved almost entirely away from covering breaking news, then how/why use social media? That has to change . . . both the use of social media and seeing ourselves as covering breaking news . . . of being the place that our audience can expect to go to or hear from to know what’s important about what is going on. The past couple years we have largely abandoned that responsibility, but I need some inspiration and ideas for getting that going again.

Once we move toward being a broader-based journalistic publication/program, I think the needs and uses for social media will immediately begin to become more apparent.

U.S. Open offers enlightened experience for social media coverage

By Sandra Coyer

 I went to the U.S. Open this weekend (I’m actually sitting in the grandstands at 18 as I write this on the last day of play). It’s hard to be at an event like this without thinking in a journalistic state of mind (just like it’s hard for me to watch a soccer match without wanting to run down the field to play).

As I wrap up a week about social media, my mind keeps going back to this question: Surrounded by local and national media, if I were a student journalist, how would I tell this story?

This place is a local student (and professional) journalist’s dream. Thousands of spectators, a plethora of big names, not to mention the type of weather we, in Seattle, try to keep secret.

Mobile devices aren’t allowed to take photos, make calls, or take photos. So if I was covering this, knowing those parameters, what would I do?

I listen.

Conversations around me express excitement, filled with narrative stories of their own golf game and what many golfers live for: the perfect shot.

I think.

Creative angles I’d want to explore: how early did the earliest person start camping out at the grandstands on 18? On 1? The little boy standing in a daze as Phil Mickelson left 3 after shooting a birdie, what surprised him the most and what is he going to do with the ball now.

I wonder.

What would I need to do in order to get my students to think the same way when attending events? Social media offers a unique opportunity to post anywhere at any time. This post is proof of that, but how do I get the students to feel that natural urge?

Low-engagement Social Media Problems

By: Marissa D’Orazio

My Facebook feed in the aftermath of news events is all too predictable.

In a way, my Facebook friends comment according to party lines. There goes my feminist friend–she’s ranting about the anti-feminist thing some radio guy said. And here’s my ultra-conservative friend. She hates that The Knot featured a gay wedding. Oh, and here come my super liberal friends. They all hate the police. And fracking.

Sorry if I sound like a bit of a cynic. But the things people post wouldn’t annoy me so much if:

  1. They weren’t always preaching to the choir. The comments are almost always 100% in support of whatever is posted, and if someone offers an opposing viewpoint, they are torn to shreds.
  2. They looked at the complexity of the issue at hand. We post and comment before we’re even done reading the article.

To expand on point B, I think NPR’s April Fools prank in 2014 was brilliant. To summarize it, they posted a headline that said “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?” For anyone who clicked through to the actual article, the text of the article wished them a happy April Fools Day and congratulated them for actually being ready to read an article. And their trick worked. Many Americans made ridiculous fools of themselves as the reposted and commented on what a travesty it was. The irony was made clear.

Of the 8 Key Takeaways about Social Media and News, I am least surprised by number eight: that visitors who get their news through Facebook have a far lower level of engagement and spend less time looking at the article than those who go directly to the news site. As NPR’s prank made clear, many are willing to comment when all they’ve read is the headline!

I’m not sure how we create media users who are willing to delve a little deeper to understand an issue. Maybe this is the result of being able to have information at the click of a button. We scan an article, look for key words that show it affirms our life-view, and then repost. Maybe we need to start challenging our own views more.

Get off my media, old folks

By Jason Wawrzeniak

One of our writers this year completed an article examining students’ views of having their parents *on* Twitter and the ramifications of being followed online by them.

It was an interesting concept, which included polling — I believe the numbers indicated that about three-fourths of students said they were on Twitter, while about one-third said their parents were. About one-fourth of parents followed their children on Twitter, according to the students polled.

Most interesting to me were the perspectives of the students polled, as well as our writer. While there were some (what felt like) toss-away comments about being careful what is posted online, anyone can see, etc., it felt like the consensus opinion was that Twitter is for “kids” — adults and parents should stick to FaceBook, apparently. (As someone who has never used FaceBook I’m not entirely clear why that is the belief or if it is an insult of some sort.)

This was initially surprising because as someone who has long used Twitter for largely informational purposes — such as following various media, sports and other entertainment entities — I would have said the reverse to them. (I think everyone can probably agree SnapChat is for the younger generation…)

But upon further reflection, it made much more sense. One of the most appealing aspects of any social media, in particular Twitter I think, is that it can be tailored in many ways to your individual interests and desires.  My students admittedly have very little interest in a lot of what I’m focused on, and vice versa. And until recently when I created a professional/teacher account, there was never really a reason for our disparate online worlds to collide.

To bring this around to the Reynolds Institute, some of the great discussions we’ve been having have focused on the incorporation of social media into our programs. On one hand, it seems perfectly natural that students would want to utilize this technology and media which they are so comfortable with. (And in many cases are more comfortable than us.)  However, there is a barrier which needs broken down — or at least chiseled away a bit — for students to be willing to accept visitors into what many perceive as *their* world.

Sample Ethics Policy

Below is a sample editorial and ethics policy.

Editorial Letter Policy

Letters

The publications staff encourages letters to the editor so that readers might share in the opportunities of the scholastic free press in open forum. Only signed letters will be accepted which meet laws and standards regarding libel, defamation, obscenity, incitement, and copyright rules. Signatures may be withheld upon request when the writer can show need to remain anonymous. Letters submitted become the property of the paper; none will be returned. In the event that we have an abundance of letters turned in, we cannot promise that every letter is printed. It is up to the discretion of the editorial board and the adviser. It is the staff policy not to allow the same topic to be disputed issue after issue.

Ethics Policy

School Sponsored Publications and Productions

The Board of Education sponsors student publications as means by which students learn, under adult direction/supervision, the rights and responsibilities inherent when engaging in the public expression of ideas and information in our democratic society.

For purposes of this policy, “school-sponsored student media” shall include both student publications and productions. “Student publications” shall include written materials, (including but not limited to, banners, flyers, posters, pamphlets, notices, newspapers, playbills, yearbooks, literary journals, books, t-shirts and other school sponsored clothing), as well as material in electronic or online form (including, but not limited to, radio and television programs, podcasts, and other video or audio productions that are recorded re-broadcast or broadcast in real time using any available broadcast technology).

The following speech is unprotected and prohibited in all school-sponsored student publications and productions: speech that is defamatory, libelous, obscene or harmful to students; speech that is reasonably likely to cause substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities or the educational process; speech that infringes upon the privacy or rights of others; speech that violates copyright law; speech that promotes activities, products or services that are unlawful (illegal) as to minors as defined by State and Federal law; and speech that otherwise violates school policy and/or State or Federal law. The Board authorizes the publication’s adviser to review and restraint of school-sponsored publications and productions to prevent the publication or performance of unprotected speech.

The Board designates the following official, school-sponsored student media to be limited-purpose public forums: High school newspaper publications (including, but not limited to, all electronic versions) knows as the Aquilla.

As limited-purpose public forums, the student journalists associated with the publications listed above may address matters of concern and/or interest to their readers/viewers. The student journalists involved in the above-listed publications have the right to determine the content of these student media. The content is open to the public at large at the discretion of the student journalists and may address general matters of public concern. School officials will not restrict content of the publications listed above prior to their publication. Each medium should provide a full opportunity for students to inquire, question, and exchange ideas. Content should reflect all areas of student interest, including topics about which there may be dissent and/or controversy.

These publications shall contain a notice to the reader/viewer, that the material, while school sponsored, is student directed and not subject to prior review, except in circumstances directly related to established publications standards, as determined by the adviser/teacher. These standards include, but are not limited to:

  • Grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • Proper sourcing (three, minimum, for a news story)
  • Accuracy
  • Objectivity in a news story, presenting both views in an opinion story
  • Material that is libelous

Given these student publications have been designated as limited-purpose public forums, the school assumes no liability for their content. With editorial control comes responsibility. Student journalists are expected to establish and enforce standards for their publications that are consistent with professional journalism and broadcast standards.

Students shall not be disciplined and/or restrained against for exercising and/or asserting their free speech rights as defined by this policy. Nothing in the policy, however, restricts the Board’s ability to impose post-publication/performance discipline related to a student engaging in the impermissible publication/performance of unprotected speech.

Trying to get on the same page with students & social media

By Peter Laub

I recently showed my students how the Washington Post was using Snapchat as a tool in their journalism toolbox. We looked at a few samples of their most recent content. Three freshmen got really excited, immediately broke out their phones, and were quickly doing and saying things I didn’t understand. They immediately told our EIC we needed an account and they were going to use it at the upcoming variety show. Great!, I thought. The fire is lit!

But after class, one of my J-2 students whom I greatly respect – and who is very current on digital trends – told me she didn’t think Snapchat was for us. “Why?” I asked. “All the kids are using it! We can get our name out there and stay connected!” “No,” she shook her head and squinted her eyes. “It would just cheapen what we do.” As an adviser, I was super proud to hear her say that and a little sheepish about what I had wrought for the day.

(A similar comment only one week later essentially nixed the idea of Snapchat for good, for me. We had invited a writer from the WaPo into our class to just chat about the reporting lifestyle and his process. He was a newbie, only 3 yrs on the job, and still quite young. One student asked him about Snapchat and he scoffed: “It disappears. Part of my job is to create a permanent record of the shifts in society.”)

So these anecdotes are stand-ins for a bigger question I’ve been asking myself for the past couple of years: Am I really on the same page with my students when it comes to social media?

The J-2 student told me about the conversations she has with her peers in the class about the “rush” they get from doing good reporting and looking at a byline that exists only on our news site. She didn’t get the same rush from Twitter/Snapchat/Instagram. She argued that creating content particular to our news site makes that content unique, special, different (presumably from her daily Snapchat stories).

I suspect part of her reluctance (and the rest of the class’s) comes from protecting a very fragile and carefully constructed online persona, where journalism class doesn’t always live. But I also suspect that these social media natives place a higher value on a product that involves a bit more time and effort to create.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 314 other followers