Traditionally, journalism classes have been — and often still are — a gateway for disaffected students to find their way to the joy of learning, to the meaning and power of words, to better critical thinking, to overall student performance and citizenship. More recently, journalism programs in many high schools have become the best place for students to pick up core digital literacy and college readiness skills.
Many East of Bayshore students don’t take journalism in high school in part because journalism classes rarely are on a direct path to graduation, and in part because the some Beginning Journalism classes have a reputation as “weeder” courses.
The absence creates a self-feeding cycle: Students who don’t see themselves represented in journalism classes are less likely to take those classes, which in turn decreases the student press’s ability to cover issues relevant to EPA students, and — ultimately — to fewer professional EPA journalists and diminished quality and quantity of coverage of EPA issues by the student and professional press.
Our goal is to break the cycle by building on our successful programs in Summer 2009 and Summer 2010 to again offer the EPA Scholastic Journalism Institute, a six-week program inspired by DJNF-supported urban youth journalism workshops at local universities. Our program is designed to recruit EPA students with an interest in journalism and give them the skills they need to catapult directly into their schools’ journalism publication classes.