Student journalists learn to identify and address important community issues

By | May 3, 2014

University of Denver researchers Lynn Schofield Clark and Rachel Monserrate interviewed 45 high school journalists and concluded that participation in high school journalism fosters in students a recognition of the community’s needs and how journalism may be used to address these needs.

The researchers argued that a fundamental skill that journalism students practice is looking past themselves and their immediate friendship groups to identify issues that matter to the larger collective. They wrote that high school journalism programs “serve as a form of civics education that is focused less on the content of most civics education programs and more on the processes of helping young people to appreciate the value in a collective rather than a solely individualist orientation” (p. 428).

Clark and Monserrate found that student journalists valued the experience of identifying and publicly addressing important issues, and that this likely contributed to the students’ civic development. Students, they wrote, “almost always discussed their work in high school journalism with a sense of personal purpose and fulfillment, a sense of connection to their larger high school community, and in many cases a concern for how the rights and experiences of those in their community were respectfully addressed” (p. 429).

Source: Lynn Schofield Clark and Rachel Monserrate, “High School Journalism and the Making of Young Citizens,” Journalism 12 (2011, issue 4): 417-432.