Advisers and Editors Center

The Power of a Student Run Newspaper


Few things in school can give students as much hands-on business experience as a student run newspaper. The vast array of business skills needed to run a newspaper gives students the chance to not only learn these skills, but to experience real world business practices firsthand. The power of this sort of experience is not to be undervalued.

Business Skills

Running a newspaper will require your students to learn about the following aspects of a business:

  • Administration and staffing. Students will learn to organize the various aspects of a newspaper (writing, editing, layout, design, photography), to delegate, learn how to manage their labor and workforce, create and meet deadlines, and finally bring various elements into a cohesive entity known as a newspaper.
  • Sales. Many student run newspapers sell ads, requiring students to talk to business owners, make sale pitches, collect money, create invoices, and work alongside real businesses.
  • Customer relations. A newspaper for students means that the entire student body represents the customers of the newspaper club. Learning to meet customer expectations, accept criticism, build a product that customers want and look forward to, and creating a customer community is all part of business—and part of running a newspaper.
  • Working with investors. Most businesses operate on some level with investors, either shareholders, or financial partners. In the case of a student newspaper, the investors often are the teachers and administration of the school (particularly if the school is funding the newspaper). Keeping investors happy is part of any business, and this can be an invaluable skill that a newspaper can teach students.
  • Forming partnerships. Partnerships are where the interests of two groups overlap, and by working together, a mutual goal can be achieved to the benefit of both groups. Perhaps a club in school needs to be highlighted to generate more interest; a partnership with the school newspaper to provide needed resources could be just the thing. Looking for and building partnerships (particularly with teachers) is a good business skill.
  • Accounting. A student run newspaper requires real money. This money either comes from the school budget (investor) or it is raised through various other means (sales, partnerships, parent investments). Either way, the money must be handled correctly and certain accounting skills will be required.
  • Vendor acquisition. The newspaper must be printed. Printers will need to be found, relationships established, and the final product printed and delivered. Finding the right vendor is important and establishing a working relationship with that vendor is important.

In summary, a student run newspaper is powerful on many levels, but one of the most intriguing aspects is the business acumen that students gain from running a newspaper. So many aspects of it mirror real world business, and not only is the experience invaluable, but it looks good on a resume as well.

Journalism Skills

There are so many different journalism aspects that a newspaper can help develop.

  • Writing. Writing and journalism is an outlet for many people. For those in your school where this can be an outlet, a school newspaper is important.
  • Editing. This actually goes along with writing, but both of them are part of a communication skill set that is invaluable to people. Learning to communicate properly and well means a student will be more successful in whatever they try their hand at.
  • Interviewing. The ability to get to the heart of a matter, to talk with people, ask the right questions, and put people at ease in reporting are all part of a skill that those in a student newspaper can learn.
  • Design and Layout. For the graphical artists in your midst, a student newspaper allows them to explore areas of creativity and design they may not have had the opportunity to do before. A newspaper can print many things from comics to advertisements. All of it will require a graphic artist to lay it out in a way that not only makes sense, but is pleasing to readers. This is another skill a newspaper can help develop.

Keeping People Informed

A newspaper has a lot to be said for it. It doesn't get lost in your email in-box. It doesn't seem to be merely a part of a greater aspect of the internet--no, it is a stand-alone entity that when picked up generally gets read. A school newspaper is a great way to keep people informed.

  • Student Body. There are many things that the student body needs to know that Twitter and Facebook just won't really convey. Social media thrives on rumor and gossip. A school newspaper can do so much more and keep people informed of the truth at the same time.
  • Parents. Parents like to be kept abreast of what's going on, and a newspaper is a great way to make it happen. Parents will trust this media over social media. Not only can they stay informed, they can see the level of student involvement on a much broader scope.
  • Staff, Faculty, and Administration. The newspaper is just another way--a great way--to keep teachers and the administration in the know of legitimate student concerns, likes, dislikes, and trends. This is invaluable to the teacher who wants to stay connected to the student body.
  • The Community. Many people who are not necessarily directly involved with the school will still feel a desire to be part of the school--particularly alumni. A newspaper can keep the community informed.

All of this is in addition to the true purpose and value of a newspaper which is to give students a voice in the school. That alone brings participation, interest, and value to the overall school experience, and that alone is worth having a newspaper club in your school.

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