As the brand new school year has begun, many students are now finding ways to make an impact in their school community. Whether that be enrolling in leadership-based classes, volunteering at school events, or joining clubs that help charity, students often look for ways to apply their interests to the bigger picture. One of the most powerful ways that students can make a direct impact within their school’s community is writing for their school newspaper.
School publications help to keep the school community informed on different events within the school, give insight on issues that concern youth, and provide a platform for students to share their opinions. Some schools have established newspapers that are run as credit classes while others have newspapers that are run in a club format. However, some schools have no newspaper at all.
Fuzzable, being a team that consists of many young writers from around the world, is excited to begin a three-part series called Give Students a Voice, articles to share insight on how to begin, create, and develop a school newspaper in order to give students the opportunity to amplify their voices. This article focuses on the process of the newspaper startup.
Before going ahead with any big actions, it is important to get all personal thoughts in check and create a rough plan. There is no need to flesh out all of the details, but it is important to figure out the basic idea of what your paper will entail. Ask yourself some questions: do you want to run a hard-copy paper, a digital paper, or a combination of both? What kinds of stories do you want to publish? Will the paper only be about school news or will it talk about local and world issues too? How will the publishing process work? Will the paper need funding and if so, what are some ways to obtain that money? It’s good to brainstorm various answers to these questions before moving to the next steps that involve persuading others to get on board with the publication.
The first step to creating any club or organization at school is taking initiative. Depending on the structure of your school, there may be a specific teacher or counselor in charge of approving clubs, or there may be a requirement to talk to administration. Book an appointment to speak with the respective person at your school to talk about the creation of a school newspaper. Come prepared with the notes you created during your brainstorming process and be ready to answer questions you may be asked. Act professional and be willing to take ideas from others. You may be asked to book a followup meeting once you have all the ideas finalized or before you publish your first paper, so take time to make progress between appointments.
Find an Adviser
While not always necessary, having a newspaper adviser can be a great deal of help to students running their first newspaper. Some schools require all clubs to have a teacher sponsor, in which case, having an adviser is unavoidable. However, other schools may let the students run the paper independently. A fully student-run paper has its benefits, but can get difficult when it comes to using school computers and programs, printing paper copies, and using school funding. For this reason, finding a teacher sponsor could be the key to success. While there are many people who may be willing to assist with the publication, it is typically those who work in the English department, information technology department, or library who take special interest in newspaper advising. Check in these places, and if you have a teacher who you are already close with in these areas, it would not hurt to ask them first.
Build a Team
The final step in preparing to launch a school newspaper is to build a team. Use school-based marketing strategies such as word of mouth, posters, and PA announcements to recruit members. If possible, it is also useful to make personal door-to-door announcements in English classes so that students have the opportunity to meet and ask you questions face-to-face. If there are any people who you think would be particularly interested in joining the paper, do not be afraid to seek them out specifically by sending them a message on social media. Once you create a team of people, set a first meeting where everybody can meet and talk about what they hope to get out of the newspaper this year. Make the environment welcoming and one of open communication from the beginning. Bringing snacks is always a good strategy too.
These are the first steps in implementing a school newspaper. From here, the next steps will involve putting together a first edition and developing strategies to make the publication shine.
Are you planning to take part in a school newspaper this year? Tweet us @Fuzzable to let us know and be sure to give the account a follow so you’ll know when the next article in the Give Students a Voice series is published.