Why are connections to the school, local and national
communities necessary to the learning community?
If you want students to feel as though they are working
as part of a larger community, then your program should be connected to that
The school community can offer tremendous support for the
students. Teachers can write both letters of commendation as well as letters
of criticism to show that the newspaper is in fact a central forum for the
school community. It is a way to get information out to the community and
the student should feel as though they are providing a good service.
The local newspapers can offer the students a glimpse into
what the real journalistic world is like. Most newspaper reporters and editors
welcome the opportunity to be connected with the school in some way. They
are happy to be speakers, judge contests, and offer suggestions, if students
or the adviser asks.
The local community also offers support incase of first
The national community of student journalists such as the
Columbia Scholastic Press Association or National Scholastic Press Association
or Quill and Scroll provide national critiques of student work. They offer
support as well as educational opportunities for both the students and the
The national student organizations help connect student
journalists to other student journalists giving students an opportunity to
meet other young people with similar interests.
Most of these groups have student conferences two times
per year; taking students to these conferences is a wonderful experience for
them to meet others and to improve their writing skills. It is also an exceptional
way to motivate students.
The work student journalists is influenced by their peers
in other communities. It is important for students to exchange newspapers
and read each others' papers to get story ideas and ideas about writing
styles. Students can also see what other student journalists are doing and
compare their work.
Sometimes students will read articles in other student
newspapers and get ideas for stories; other times, they will find mistakes
in other student newspapers and learn from those mistakes.