Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Justifying the Importance of Journalism Courses in Schools

What makes a successful student?

I would argue that the answer goes much further than intelligence, basic skill, connections and other traditionally beneficial advantages.

Regardless of studies that have shown this to be true, I think there is a validity in the common sense concept that students who learn and practice good media production are more apt to succeed in school, work and life.

Reason #1: Participating in student media is empowering. When you are given the chance to write or speak to a mass audience, there is a feeling of accomplishment that comes from knowing you have contributed to something greater than yourself and for the specific purpose of educating or engaging the public. This is a step (and a big one) toward becoming influential and valuing one's own words as well as others'.

Reason #2: Understanding how the media works is empowering. Realizing that you have the ability to call information into question is a very important part of being a smart and discriminating consumer. Without this, you are more apt to believe anything you see or hear--especially if the information *seems* plausible. Being snowed is never a good feeling.

Reason #3: Being a leader is empowering. Whether as an editor or a contributor, leadership is a necessary skill to gathering important and meaningful news. Also, respect is often afforded those who aren't afraid to ask important questions.

Reason #4: Honing a craft is empowering. Becoming a better writer, speaker, artist, photographer, editor, etc. are all an essential part of being a valued member of the fourth estate. It also helps a little with the grades in other classes...

Reason #5: Student media expands horizons. Being a journalist or photographer helps you see the world differently and branch out in directions that you wouldn't necessarily otherwise.

The reasons for why scholastic journalism is a valuable (and arguably essential) practice are plentiful. I would challenge anyone to offer a reason it might not be.

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