|Creating headlines they care about|
|Written by Amanda Curry, Columnist|
|Sunday, 09 October 2011 21:27|
The latest technology, environmental concerns, health developments, world news and local news: newspapers educate readers on a mixture of topics with each issue. I care about the news, the Vidette staff cares about the news, but how do you get an average high school student to care about the news?
Let them report on it.
A group of students in San Francisco are getting the opportunity to report on the news throughout the semester as they create their own newspaper. And it’s not the typical high school paper, either.
The students all attend Big Picture at the Principals’ Center Collaborative, a public school for teenagers involved with the juvenile justice system. The internship they are involved with this semester sounds like a great learning experience for all high school students.
The group will be starting a newsroom and producing hard-copy journalism from a youth perspective. A youth perspective? Yes. The focus of this paper will be to see the world through a teenager’s eyes.
I’m familiar with high school newspapers where the staff has to apply and learn to formulate stories that align with the public’s interests. Although the stories in these newspapers are written by students, they still cover a wide range of issues and students are still required to report on topics that might not be incredibly interesting to them.
The stories by the students at Big Picture will be different because they will not only be able to focus on topics that prove interesting to them, they will be able to add their own comments and opinions into the stories. As odd as it may seem to give students the responsibility of reporting on news from their own perspective, I believe allowing these youth to be involved and accountable for the publication of news helps encourage them to care about the world around them. Even if they are writing in a form that is less “news” and more “opinion” they are still dealing with the news and becoming responsible citizens by learning about current events.
I’ve noticed recently that news doesn’t seem to be a big focus for anyone anymore, but younger students are especially oblivious to the things going on in the world around them.
One class that I am currently teaching is reading “Night” by Elie Wiesel. The book is a Holocaust memoir and, after discussing the Holocaust at length, I asked students if they thought genocide still happened.
Most of them were certain that nothing like the Holocaust could happen in the world today. Sadly, this means that they do not know about the genocides in Uganda, Rwanda, Darfur and Bosnia. It also means they are not invested in the news.
It may just be that many events aren’t important to them because the events do not affect the students first hand. People might only be checking headlines that appeal to them instead of reading about world news. It could be that they’re just losing interest in newspapers, and that checking the news on their cell phones, where they can quickly locate a specific article and bypass other important happenings. No matter what the cause, news needs a makeover.
This unconventional idea might just be the key to inciting student interest and involvement in current events. If students are able to connect to the news and add their own personal feelings into their writing, they feel like they are making a difference and that feeling will only encourage them to continue commenting on the world around them.