Advisers and Editors Center

Why a Newspaper Club Is Important for Your School

Student Journalism Ideas

In this digital age and with so many other avenues of communication available to us, it seems that a school newspaper is outdated and irrelevant, imparting news that has already been hashed to death over social media and student texting. There is some validity to that when you only consider school news that has already been captured by cell phones, tablets, and other avenues of communication. However, that is not the reason for having a school newspaper club.

Even in the days when such technology didn’t exist, newspapers were not the primary source of information for the student body. The final score of a game or who the king and queen of the homecoming game were may fill up space in a newspaper, but it was always information that the majority of the student body already knew. In that regard, nothing has changed.

So why have a newspaper club?

There are many reasons, and a few of them are detailed here. We feel that each and every school can benefit from a newspaper club, and we want to help you achieve this worthy goal.

#1 – Students Need a Voice

Giving Students a Voice -- Starting a School Newspaper

Students of any age need the freedom to express themselves in a manner that is respectful, thoughtful, and accepted. A newspaper club can give those outspoken individuals a voice that is done in a way that brings credibility to the writer as well as to the school. It also allows teachers and administration to monitor the content to ensure appropriateness and relevance.

A newspaper club is more than just a means to disseminate information. It is the voice of the student body. It is a place they can voice their opinions, their ideas, and their ideals. The main reason or giving students a voice is that those who feel they can enter the dialogue become participants, rather than spectators. Spectators only complain and harbor grudges. Participants are more apt to listen to both sides, to be positive contributors, and to care.

A newspaper club is apt to be this voice even more so than the student council. Every student can have an opportunity to have their voice heard in the newspaper, but they may not have that opportunity with the student council.

#2 – Journalism Will Never Die

Regardless of the way technology evolves and changes, there will always be a need for writers and those with the skill to turn a word and voice an opinion. The pen is still mightier than the sword as Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets have rediscovered. All these outlets do is give people a voice, a form of journalism.

With a newspaper club, your students can learn the importance of good journalism. Students can learn to write and convey their thoughts, ideas, and impressions. They can learn the value of solid research and the dangers of misinformation and slander. This level of professionalism will not be learned on Twitter or Facebook. But a newspaper club could be the foundation upon which these qualities of journalism can be learned.

#3 – Learn Valuable Skills

Writing is a skill. Editing is a skill. Design and layout are skills. Photography is a skill. A newspaper club can provide the basis to learn these skills, enhance these skills, or refine these skills. Students involved in a newspaper club can put into practical application the skills being taught to them in the classroom. One significant difference is that the newspaper isn’t a homework assignment and won’t be seen as such. It is a club. They do it because they want to.

Watching the quality of your newspaper improve over the year is a wonderful feeling. Seeing the pride a student takes in his work (written, layout, or photography) is invaluable, and these skills may prove pivotal as they move up in their education or join the workforce.

#4 – A Means of Student Discovery

By this, we mean the opportunity to connect people to each other in ways they never knew. Everyone has a story, but not every story is told or known. In each school, there are students, teachers, and administrators with interesting stories that the student body would benefit from hearing.

Many schools pay money to bring in a Big Name to give a rousing and inspirational speech, but there is likely many just as inspirational stories already in the school just waiting to be told. A newspaper club is a way to connect those stories to the student body, thus building comradeship and student discovery of one another.

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