Scholastic Journalism Week 2021 focuses on how journalism makes a difference

Scholastic Journalism Week 2021 focuses on how journalism makes a difference

By PJ Cabrera, CJE, Scholastic Journalism Week coordinator

Scholastic Journalism Week is Feb. 21-27 featuring #WhatWeDoMatters. It is a week that focuses on reminding scholastic journalism students that their work is vital to their community.

“The committee wanted to use this week having teachers remind students that what they are doing is important,” said Scholastic Journalism Week Coordinator PJ Cabrera, CJE.

The Scholastic Journalism Week team developed daily lessons for teachers to incorporate #SJW2021 in their classrooms.

Sunday: Diversity Matters
Monday: Why Do We Do What We Do?
Tuesday: Local Journalism Matters
Wednesday: Issues Matter
Thursday: Beyond Scholastic Journalism
Friday: What They Did Mattered
Saturday: Leadership Matters

The week kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 21 with a lesson that will ask students to identify ways to increase diversity in coverage.

Monday’s lesson gets students to flesh out their organization’s mission in a way that they can articulate not only for themselves but also for others in their community.

“Diversity in coverage only happens if we are intentional in our practice,” said Louisa Avery, MJE, adviser at the American School in London. “Creating a diversity policy can help guide staffs in making decisions about how to best demonstrate their commitment to diversity.”

Tuesday’s lesson asks students to look at how journalism has made an influence locally on their school and/or community, and what their role is in keeping their community informed.

Wednesday’s lesson asks students to become familiar with how scholastic publications brought about change or raised awareness by covering controversial issues.

Thursday’s lesson reminds students that scholastic journalism can open many doors for careers in both professional journalism and other professional focuses. The material features professionals from across the country about how scholastic journalism has helped their current careers.

On Friday, #SJW2021 will be collaborating with Student Press Law Center in celebrating Student Press Freedom Day. Not only will there be a focus on a free student press, but Friday’s lesson reminds students of those who have to lead the way for students and advisers today.

“We have committee members in all types of teaching situations right now, so we designed the lessons to be very flexible,” Avery said. “Our hope is that advisers will be able use these activities with their students whether they are teaching in-person or virtually.”

Saturday’s lesson focuses on leadership, getting students to evaluate the capacity for true journalistic leadership in their own newsrooms and make a plan to foster those leadership skills moving forward.

“This week is all about the kids,” Cabrera said. “In a year that so much has happened, impacting our students negatively, it is important to remind our students the importance of scholastic journalism and what it can do on their lives.”

JEA also provides #SJW2021 activities for students and student media staffs, that can be accomplished independently or as a team, to help celebrate and educate about scholastic journalism in their communities.

Founded in 1924, JEA supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, promoting professionalism, encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.

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