Sunday, May 30, 2010

Greetings from Bloomsburg

Although I have just finished my 34th year in education, I am truly humbled by the opportunity to be part of this summer’s institute. I am the adviser of our small, rural high school’s newsmagazine, yearbook, art and literary magazine and website while teaching a fairly full load of freshman English. My staffs constantly amaze me with their dedication, creativity and commitment to the 450 students who attend Bloomsburg High School and our town community in northeastern PA.

I am proud of their efforts and how they represent themselves in various state and international programs including My High School Journalism, NewsPageDesigner at, and our own state’s scholastic journalism site at PA School Press Association. This year, our monthly magazine editor, who also serves as our production editor, is surely the best craftsman I have ever worked with, and her unique and original page layouts have proven that design can indeed drive content while improving both readership and how information is presented.

My first year classes begin with the study of ethics, move on to reporting and writing, and then the technologies and skills of photography, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and web creation, and we repeat this cycle as new experiences challenge my staffs and editors. Each year, my second year students start from scratch so that each edition is unique to their goals and talents, and yes, my gray hair, or what is left of it, is well earned.

Yet, I will be the first one to tell the world that I have so much to learn. I constantly look to develop how we separate and master the responsibilities of teaching journalism and advising scholastic publications, two roles that are sometimes both complementary and contradictory in nature. I think that we will also explore how to expand our publications’ content so that our staffs continue to be relevant in this age of instant communication.

My students demand a lot of themselves, and as their adviser, I can demand nothing less of myself. I am looking forward to a challenging learning experience, to meeting all of you, and to my first visit to Arizona. I expect that we will be quite different on June 25 than we are today.


Sam Bidleman
Bloomsburg High School
Bloomsburg, Pa.

BTW. Married to the best elementary teacher in the world. We work together on the side as portrait photographers and share in a variety of hobbies and habits. She said that she is happy to share me for a few weeks.

BTW2. If you have room in your carry-ons, maybe you all could bring a print edition of your paper/magazine to share OR we could exchange addresses and exchange publications that way. All good.


  1. I, too, have thought it would be a good idea to bring print copies, and I would really love to see one of your colleague's monthly magazines. It's good we have the weekend to do some sharing. It looks like our weekdays are somewhat full. How exciting. Nunn

  2. I agree to the print copies as well. I will try to bring some.

    As a side note, my brother-in-law graduated from Bloomsburg University. My husband and his family are from Plymouth, PA (which is outside of Wilkes-Barre). My brother-in-law misses the festival now that he lives down here in Houston, TX with us.