Scholastic Journalism Week 2020
“Big Questions, Big Results”
Feb. 24-28, 2020
The Journalism Education Association has scheduled Scholastic Journalism Week for Feb. 24-28, 2020. How you help promote this week is entirely up to you. It is hoped that your involvement and that of your students will serve to raise community consciousness regarding the benefits of scholastic journalism. Your students will learn from both the promotion and their celebration of an event holding major significance for them.
This year’s Scholastic Journalism Week theme is “Big Questions, Big Results.” JEA Scholastic Journalism Week 2020 celebrates student journalists who ask important questions about the world around them and thoroughly and accurately convey solid reporting to benefit the audience in a big way. They investigate, and their coverage is timely and relevant; they shed light on the people, trends, issues and stories of their community. The results are clear and meaningful.
Use this resolution template, created by Stan Zoller, MJE, to encourage your school board, city council, county board or even student council to declare the week Scholastic Journalism Week in your area.
JOURNALISM WEEK 2020 IDEAS for the journalism classroom and media staff to celebrate the week
SJW activities can take many forms and it is up to each staff to decide what works for them leading up to and during Scholastic Journalism Week.
The activities should:
- Use our daily SJW themes and hashtags to engage with JEA member schools on social media.
- Submit some of your published work and reflections to our SJW Staff Spotlight series. We will highlight work by student media from around the country each day during the week inspired by our daily themes. (Submission link coming soon).
- Reach out to the school and/or community from which a chapter draws its students.
- Work to have a broader impact in promoting the ideals of scholastic journalism. Involve local media.
- Hold an all-school program in which staff members teach their peers about ethical journalism and how it’s practiced in their publications; or how students can tell the difference between fake news and real news, and ethical reporting methods.
- Host a school journalism movie series or night, after which students and/or professional journalists can discuss how real-life journalists go about their jobs.
- Run a social media campaign to draw attention pressing social issues among high school students, such as:
- Sexual harassment
- Publish some sort of photo essay mixed with writing and stories to show just how important journalism is. We could have reaction shots of students, parents and community members reading our school newspapers, students laughing at the yearbook, etc, to show how much journalism, especially student journalism, can have an impact on society.
- Celebrate Tinker v. Des Moines 50th anniversary: Plan a celebration, awareness campaign, or take part in Mary Beth Tinker’s Tinker Tour events online. Write a note to Mary Beth Tinker.
- Spread Random Acts of Freedom
- What sort of work has been done in scholastic journalism because students have the freedom to publish?
- Tweet “Why the First Amendment is important to me.” “Why ethical journalism is important to me.”
- Use Snapchat or Instagram Takeovers to feature schools. Make a public story.
- Have a movie night focusing on ethics.
- Have a What is news? quiz show.
- Are you smarter than a ________ staff member? Have a quiz-bowl-style showdown testing journalism knowledge.
- Steer people to legitimate news sources. Scavenger Hunt — find a respectable site. Tweet from their account. Winner gets some kind of prize.
- Conduct outreach to get people interested in consuming and/or producing journalism. Why do we do this?
- Hold a social media campaign or contest with gift cards as prizes.
- Support New Voices by writing letters of support for schools/states who are working on student press freedom legislation.
- Hold a law and ethics crash course on the First Amendment.
- Share impactful stories that made change (#MyCommunity Monday).
- Work to produce profile pieces on students from different backgrounds, marginalized voices. #StudentVoice
- Ask the same question to different students in your community & compare answers
- Look for a partnership behind just journalism; include speech and debate, Model UN, Youth in Government, etc. #beyondjournalism
- Stand for and promote Truth, Leadership, Learning, Loyalty, Integrity, Initiative, Judgment, Friendship.
- Don’t have a National Quill and Scroll charter for your school? Start one this year during Scholastic Journalism Week and celebrate the anniversary of your charter each year during SJW!
- Release simple, powerful statements that underscores the importance of “real” news and the process of verification
- Promote #everydayjournalism — any story can make a difference.
More time consuming. May take more than a little effort
- Take some video of your upcoming deadline. Post it online, via Facebook or Twitter to show your community what a scholastic publication goes through to share all the news that’s fit to print, or record the memories that make the year.
- Portrait project: Draw attention to the week and your staff. Assign students a portrait project. There is a great lesson in the Spring 2011 issue of Communication: Journalism Education Today that gives 20 ways to take stunning portraits. Depending on access to photography equipment, students could check out cameras for a day with a partner or group and head out on campus to get their portrait taken (you could even specify that their portrait be taken with a cellphone camera for additional challenge). They then come back to the lab, upload their photos and chose one portrait of themselves that they feel encompasses their personality and who they are. Share them as a staff and then share them with your community. Mount them and put each staffer’s name on his or her portrait. Then use a wall outside your publication office or an empty trophy case to display the photos.
- Have an “Amazing Race”-style First Amendment scavenger hunt. Students are given clues related to each of the Five Freedoms scattered around the school (eg. “speech” clue hidden on the speaker). Kids have to find each item, then go on to the next clue. Prizes are given to the first three to complete the list.
- Pass out “Newsies Night” movie tickets. Show the movie “Newsies” after school on your school’s big screen and buy popcorn to give away. The “tickets” are just quarter fliers … but the kids will have to say one of the freedoms of the First Amendment to get in as well.
- Hold a “Meet the Press” event at your school. Send out invitations (either tangible ones or email) and invite your school’s staff and administrators to a short after-school get-together. Buy or make Scholastic Journalism Week-themed cake or cookies, have soft drinks available, have your entire publication staff in attendance and schmooze it up. Send thank-you cards after the event letting those who attended how much you appreciate their support.
- Promote yourself. Use this week as a special way to recruit. Send out a celebration packet to your feeder schools, send it with some of your staffers. Create a brochure to advertise your program and suggest easy ways those in your community could get involved.
- Send thank-you notes to advertisers and/or other people in your community who consistently help you out.
- Take a few minutes of your day during the week to share an issue of Superman #706 which focuses almost entirely on Daily Planet editor Perry White and the problems he faces with eerily modern day problems like decreased readership. The effort in this is to find the actual issue.
- Have your students tweet about the First Amendment and moments during the week they think about those freedoms. Use the hashtag #sjw2019 so we can all follow your tweets!
- Celebrate the week by conducting short lessons on each of the Five Freedoms, one each day.
- Have your students take each day to conduct polls of the student body about those freedoms, what they know, but more importantly educating them on what they don’t know. Culminate the week with a penny drive for the Student Press Law Center.
- Change your profile pic on Facebook to the SJW poster.
- Write a status update during the week about why you consider scholastic journalism essential to your school, or why you continue to be a part of scholastic journalism. Share your passion, share your inspiration. What keeps you going?
- Encourage your students to do the same as #6.
- Celebrate yourself, at the end of the week, treat yourself to something special (whether it’s a cup of your favorite coffee, a pedi/mani, maybe a massage). You, as an adviser, do so much to support what your students do, you deserve to take some time to yourself.
- Take the TAO of Journalism Pledge. www.taoofjournalism.org. Then, when your staff takes the pledge, take a photo of each person taking the pledge and a group photo to commemorate the event.
- Have your staff attend the school board meeting during the week. PACK THE HOUSE! Maybe even be proactive and attend the meeting but also address the board about the value of journalism in the curriculum and of free and responsible student news media serving the community.
- Print posters from this page for the week and put them up all over your school the Friday evening before so students see them at the beginning of the week.
- Set up morning announcements for each day. Have them either read over the intercom or broadcast via your television broadcast class (if possible).
- Have your staffers wear their staff shirts, 45words or other First Amendment shirts, or anything and everything related to journalism at least once during the week at the same time. Need fresh swag to rep during SWJ, find what you need at the JEA Bookstore.
- Have your students take a day to write a letter to your local paper about the importance of journalism to them, the school, etc.
- Do Something! Don’t let the week slip by!
- Distribute business cards with the First Amendment on them on Monday. Then, have your staff members head out into the cafeteria during lunch one of the days and pass out candy to every kid who can correctly recite (without their card) the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment.
Some ideas for the week from Tom Gayda, MJE
- Guest speakers. Invite a local pro or former student made good to come and speak to your classes.
- Party. During class or after school, have a party to celebrate the week.
- No work worknight. Like a party. Plan to stay after school for fun only, no deadlines.
- PR. Send nice notes to faculty who help you out a lot. Leave them candy or snacks in the lounge.
- Hang out with other area schools. Invite them to your party or challenge them to some kind of competition.
- Write letters to the editor. Have students write letters to the local paper detailing their love of scholastic journalism.
- Have a press conference. Have a local politician, athlete or school administrator come to class and let students ask questions.
- Exchangeapolooza. Send your publications to other schools or spend time looking through the ones you get for fresh ideas. Celebrate others.
- Try something new. Live it up. Break from the norm. Do something cool you hear other schools always talk about. I’m going to try to get my students to sell ads!
- Clean. It is almost spring…
- Participate in SPLC Penny War. Raise money for a good cause!
- Clip stories/ideas/designs. Create a visual library from your favorite publications.
- Visit feeder schools. Get to know the middle schoolers who will one day take over.
- Compete! We’re kicking off a contest next week, everyone can play!
- Decorate. Make sure people know it is SJW by decorating your hallway area and classroom.