Partner Project visits Norte Vista High School in Riverside, CA
With “The Big Show” Novi editors gallery-walked to preview and critique layouts created by their fellow staffers. Students combined their story pitch meetings with a lesson in basic design to draft double page spreads to plan for content-driven coverage.
The Norte Vista High School Partner Project kicked off in Riverside, California Sept. 12— one of five workshops this year in the Journalism Education Association’s expansion of the four-year-old initiative.
Yearbook adviser William Nelson and 40 members of the Novi yearbook staff received a three-day training workshop taught by Megan Fromm, MJE, PhD, from Grand Junction, Colorado; Margie Raper, MJE, from McKinney, Texas; and JEA California State Director Danielle Ryan, MJE, from Carlsbad, California.
In the three years since taking over the yearbook program, Nelson has made efforts to build the journalistic integrity of the publication and move in the direction of a comprehensive media program. With the adviser’s goals in mind, Partner Project instructors customized instruction to focus on finding stories that matter, and led students in group discussions to develop coverage concepts and reporting methods.
“It was clear the students and Mr. Nelson were hungry and eager to dig deep into the culture of their school and to focus on stories that capture and captivate their student body,” Fromm said.
After using their reporting skills in a press conference with head football coach, Ken Batdorf, Novi staffers laughed through team building activities and photography and visual storytelling lessons.
“Taking pictures during the games and press conference helped the students get more comfortable moving around, looking for creative angles and capturing wide, medium, tight and detail shots,” Raper said. “It was encouraging to see them apply that practice to their coverage on Friday night.”
The instructors and students gathered at a home football game Friday night for live, on-site instruction and coverage. Students created social media posts and captured images for the yearbook.
Nelson said the application process was relatively simple, but that the benefit of the project to his staff was invaluable. He said his students gained a better appreciation for the wider world of scholastic journalism and their role in their school community.
“I’m seeing an excitement in them that I haven’t seen before. And I’m really looking forward to this school year,” Nelson said.
The Partner Project culminated with a full-day regional journalism workshop at Norte Vista Sept. 14. Approximately 120 students attended the workshop, participating in a keynote and four 50-minute learning sessions of their choice.
“It was so inspiring to see so many students excited about journalism and their role as reporters for their school communities, Ryan said. “I met so many new advisers and saw attendees from schools who have not previously participated in local events which reinforces my belief that scholastic journalism is not only alive and well but extremely vital to high school education.”