Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Student Newspaper -- Good Training that Goes Beyond Writing

I've just been reading the February issue of The Columbian, the student newspaper at our daughter's school. Wish I could share it with you, but it is not online. That's a shame.

It's an impressive display of student thinking, writing, art and whimsy. And it's also an incredible amount of work. The students need to plan, adhere to deadlines, work as a team (not particularly easy for adults, let alone teens), coerce and charm fellow students into getting their assignments done and try to understand school politics.

The editorial this month looked at an event that had occurred in the fall. A student-painted mural called "We the People," created by an AP U.S. History class, was removed by school officials. Nothing was said before the removal and no one had any comments after the deed was done. I have no idea why the mural disappeared and why the administration isn't talking. But I do believe the paper's editorial board handled the issue well.

The editorial began by acknowledging the high degree of freedom the paper has in reporting on news. Then the editorial outlined all that the editors tried to do to learn about what happened to "We the People."

Although they could draw no conclusions because the editors still had no facts, the editorial still managed to raise the issue and teach a lesson on the value of freedom of speech.

Nice work. And congratulations on a fine school newspaper.

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