Rethinking campus journalism
The better way to teach journalism in campus is to train them to write for life.
Perhaps, that’s a motherhood phrase.
What I really wanted to say is to go beyond competition mode.
But making the students practice campus journalism more might do miracles and fish more youth to the craft of factual reporting.
This is no critique on DepEd’s practice of holding schools press conferences from the division to the national levels.
I believe the efforts in campus to teach writing news, features, editorial, and sports; taking photos, and also copyediting are so much glued to “write to compete”.
Over the past months I had been involved in lectures to elementary and high school students on campus journalism.
The work is courtesy of concerned school paper advisers and education officials who wanted to prepare for the Division Schools Press Conference. The recent DSPC was held in mid-October in Don Carlos town.
Without prejudice to the amount of work put up by the advisers on training campus writers, I think there is wide room for creativity in providing more effective avenues.
There are other ways that could supplement what is achieved in the schools press conferences.
Look at how often they release school publications every year. Once or twice — if we get lucky?
That is if they release a 20-page issue with glossy covers and elaborate colors.
Why not come out with a four-page once in two months issue that could serve as laboratory space for the aspiring journalists? It is cheaper and it is faster to publish! Or with the advent of the internet, educators can use high school students having more time to be online to make t he blogs as avenue for their writing skills to develop.
Besides, it provides more opportunities for coaching, and also pride and sense of accomplishment — in short motivation — for the writers in seeing their work off to the press.
Also, how are “aspiring journalists” chosen?
Open and campus-wide screenings might have to be conducted towards the end of the present school year. Then a writing workshop could be held during summer for the incoming staffers.
How are advisers chosen, too?
Qualified advisers must either receive additional pay or reduced workload so that they can be expected to facilitate the publication with quality. They must be ready to mentor the editorial team and must not write all the articles by themselves!
What if at the end of the year a school paper adviser writes all the articles? That’s definitely a sign of a failure of instruction. I mean failure of education.
While expectations have to be adjusted with regards to quality of work, aspiring writers must see the school paper as their own, not that of their advisers.
After all, the reason why we teach campus journalism and allot budget of time and resources for it every year is we wanted the youth to aspire to be free and responsible citizens.
The aim to learn the tenets of free and responsible journalism is important for a society to remain free.