Monday, June 21, 2010

Think professionally!

"Tell students they are no longer freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors -- they are young professionals," said Alan Weintraut, 2006 Dow Jones High School Journalism Teacher of the Year.

Thinking like professionals is a tall order for high school students accustomed to being treated more like children. One piece of advice Weintraut gave that will make this easier is to produce branded materials.

Creating t-shirts, business cards and stationary with the newspaper name will help students begin to feel like professional journalists responsible for maintaining the integrity of their publication.

Selling subscriptions was also something that I had considered but never had any guidance about. I had several parents contact me this year wanting copies of the newspaper since students don't typically bring them home. Knowing that subscriptions can be offered successfully will give me the encouragement I need to proceed with that new venture.

Alan also encouraged teachers to cultivate our internal public made up of principals, teachers and students as well as others working at your school. Sending thank you e-mails with a hyperlink to articles is one easy thing we can implement.

Julie Albertson
Roncalli High School
Indianapolis, IN


  1. I love the idea of creating branded items like t-shirts, mugs, etc. What a great idea that can give students even more ownership of their newspaper. I am definitely going to work on this for our newspaper in the fall.

  2. I, too, was inspired to find more ways to build a sense of family in our newspaper group but the ideas Alan shared about mugs, photos, awards and banners were brilliant. These are ideas I will definitely take back to my staff.

  3. Sorry,
    I forgot my sign-off.

    Kim Isbell
    Humboldt High School
    Humboldt, Kan.

  4. My students loved their press passes, which I handed out with a little ceremony of sorts. They had to stand up and read aloud their mission statement, which we had written as a staff, and agree to the rights and responsibilities of professional journalists. They signed their name to the press passes and were warned about how they might be taken away.

    I also really like making sure students get the "rewards," such as the Quill and Scroll graduation cords, and a banquet with awards. They're on my to-do list for next year!

    Kim Vinh
    Sequoia High School
    Redwood City, Calif.

  5. So, does anyone else give cords or the Quill & Scroll items as awards? I would love to do something like this next year... Did you have to get special permission for kids to wear the cords?

    Tracey Ward
    Olentangy Liberty High School
    Powell, Ohio