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The Importance of Student Journalism

by Megan Waardenburg

Back when we regularly printed student news, nearly everyone read it. Maybe it was just because it was accessible, or people liked the crossword puzzles and comic strips. The community became involved and put local advertisements in the paper, and people could be found reading their newspapers every morning. The newspaper was popular a few years ago, but why did this have to change just because we’ve digitized?
The shift to online student publications has lowered the number of readers, though it should have done just the opposite. Releasing the paper online creates endless opportunities for content and media components. Because school news sites, students can write articles and release them closer to the time of an event. There can be more content more often, and it can be more relatable. We no longer have to wait until the next paper comes out to read about a football game or band concert that happened the other day, editors don’t have to limit the length of articles to fit on one page, and photographers don’t need to publish quality photos printed in low quality. The news online can include a wide variety of photos, videos, and recent updates.
Even though some of us don’t get our papers delivered in school anymore, the articles we write are no less important. If anything, they are more important. The shift from print journalism to digital journalism is a milestone in the actual industry, and students learning how to work with this have a major advantage over other students. Student journalists can grow to be better writers, stronger members of the community, and braver journalists. Within our own magazine, we’re finding that the digital format allows us to publish more students work, try out new types of articles, and gain more readers quickly.
It is absolutely imperative that students in the area support students finding their voice in society through writing, artwork, and journalism. The students published in student publications today will be the names you see in your papers in the future. They will be the expositors of the greatest scandals, messengers of the greatest news, and leaders in entertainment. They will be the faces you see as news anchors delivering updates about your community, your world, and your daily life. Student journalists show us what the future of news will look like. So read your student newspaper, literary magazine, and local publications, provide feedback and encourage students. Your peers aspiring to work in journalism in the future will reshape the media that we call corrupt and misleading, and their experiences in writing early on can help them figure out how to get readers without lying or twisting the truth.
Help your friends and peers write. Maybe give them a quote to write in their article. Comment on their article online or in person. Interact with them on social media. Answer their polls. Do whatever you can do give our journalists a way to move up. You won’t regret your devotion to the newspaper when you read your classmate’s writing in the New York Times one day.

Image by Megan Waardenburg