School newspapers might seem like a dying extracurricular, but in reality, creating a journalism department within your school and publicly distributing school news routinely is a fantastic creative outlet that students, school administrators, and the community can benefit from.
We here at Park Press believe so much in the power of educational printing that we've compiled a list of five ways your school can benefit from a high school or college newspaper, and some tips on how you can start your own college or high school newspaper club or organization, if your school doesn't already have one.
1) Teaching Invaluable Skills to Students
A student-run newspaper is an outlet for students to be creative with their voices. It allows them to generate ideas, gives them permission to safely express those ideas, and teaches them critical thinking skills they'll need later on in life when faced with an abundance of information outlets.
2) Preparing Students for a Skilled Job Market
With the digital age upon us, it's easy to assume that the traditional black and white newspapers of previous decades are fading out of existence, but the truth is, they're simply moving to digital spaces. These spaces require specialized skillsets that didn't exist previously – digital marketing, graphic design, and web layout are just a few of the examples of expertise students have the freedom to explore and learn within a school newspaper.
3) Staying in the Loop with Students
Faculty and parents are often not privy to the inner workings of students' minds. Being a pivotal time in every person's development, teenagers and young adults often socialize solely with their peers, making it difficult for school administrations and parents alike to stay plugged into the pulse of the student body. Student-run newspapers offer an opportunity to exam the school community from the eyes of its most important participants: the students.
4) Generating School Funding
Like any other news outlet, a school newspaper or a student-run alumni newspaper is an opportunity to gather funding. Not only do these publications offer advertising opportunities for community business sponsorships, but they offer schools a chance to publicize the great things happening on campus that donors and alumni will want to support.
5) Getting Started is Simple!
Creating a student-run newspaper may seem like a difficult task, especially if your school doesn't already have a designated journalism department, but actually, starting a paper – and teaching a newspaper class – doesn't have to be overwhelmingly complicated. These quick steps will help you get the ball rolling:
- Get Permission & Secure a Room — Using the benefits above, talk to your administration about starting a paper.
- Secure a Newspaper Staff — The creative benefits to a newspaper are boundless – market these to the student body and it won't be difficult to find interested students who will commit to the extracurricular.
- Choose Your Design Software – Thanks to the wonders of the internet, there are countless free resources for this online.
- Set Up a Printing Schedule – Decide in advance how frequently your issues will print, and structure the class accordingly.
- Raise Funds – Your students' very first assignments should be to seek out community donors who will buy advertising in your publication, so you have the baseline funds to begin publication and printing.
- Generate Your First Newspaper – Respect students enough to give them free reign over the creative development of the publication. As a teacher, your job is to guide them, but let them make the decisions.
- Print & Distribute Your First Issue – At Park Press, we can help with that, offering newspaper printing in traditional black and white, as well as printing in color.
It's that simple! Start a high school newspaper, college newspaper, or alumni newspaper, and students and faculty alike will thank you for implementing an abundance of benefits for the school and community.