New Comic Book-Style Textbook Aims to Get High Schoolers Excited About Journalism
A new graphic novel and textbook called A NewsHound’s Guide to Student Journalism is making waves on Kickstarter and its creator hopes it will make some in the classroom very soon, too.
Author Katina Paron, who is the Director of the NYC High School Journalism Collaborative, described the project as, “Part episodic graphic novel, part educational text, A NewsHound’s Guide to Student Journalism offers high school cub reporters a glimpse into the dramas, adventures and ethical conundrums that make journalism so deeply compelling, rewarding and fun. It also provides a solid underpinning of media arts values and practice.”
The Kickstarter for the book — which Paron began working on in 2011 — went live today and has already earned $4,745 out of the $17,000 goal, so clearly, there are people out there who agree.
Paron explained, “We all know how important it is for young people to understand the value of good journalism and a free press in a democracy—especially now at a time when they understand more about fake news than they do real news.”
Still, the lack of engaging, fun teaching materials available dismayed her, so she decided to make a resource that aspiring journalists would want to read. Paron told Mediaite in an email, “The exciting thing about journalism is DOING journalism. Whenever I teach a class, I have the teens out reporting on day 1 because I know that’s what it takes to get them hooked. This can be hard to pull off in all classroom settings so the next best thing is for them to see others doing journalism.”
Ultimately, her goals are simple. Paron just wants to foster a love for journalism and give young reporters some respect and something fun to learn from besides All the President’s Men. She said this:
It would be great to have the book in every high school journalism and English classroom, newspaper club and youth media program in the country, but the bigger goal is really get young people understanding what real journalism is and how important it is. And this speaks to the larger goal of helping young people see themselves as part of the community. We give them access to power and voice and leverage when we give them access to the media. Teens don’t get treated as people until they are voting age. This means for the first 18 years of their lives they are ignored and disenfranchised. Journalism can empower them to call out the wrongs and to fight for themselves and their peers. Just look at what the teen editors at Townsend Harris are doing. We need to make sure all teens know they have a right to be heard in their communities and journalism is a powerful way to do that.
With a fun resource created by a dedicated professional, young journalists can expect not only to be taken seriously in their communities, but to grow into even more integral parts of them. Maybe one day, the kids who read A NewsHound’s Guide to Student Journalism will be the reporters and anchors you check Mediaite to read about every day.
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