The journalism program at University High School is based on learning by experience and self-discovery, appropriate for a school with its roots in the work of John Dewey. After introductory units involving self-discovery, self-surveys and practice exercises, students largely learn about journalism and mass media by being journalists, producing student publications.
In class, challenges and dilemmas encountered in the publishing experience are related to mass media possibilities and problems. The media and current events become topics of class attention as developments dictate. Class discussions are devoted to media treatment of large or sensitive developments, to media personalities and to issues such as equitable gender treatment and hiring in media. The news indeed often determines class content.
In introductory units, accurate and economical note-taking is taught, so even before students go to work on publications they are gaining experience in taking notes and achieving a writing style.
Field trips and guest speakers add to the journalistic experience.
Students evaluate their work regularly to receive a grade. The evaluation and grading process are kept as simple as possible. The stress is on learning and achievement.
Many students come to journalism for the writing experience it offers, although journalism at University High School is not conceived of as a writing program but a communications program. The most intensive experience in learning-by-doing probably does occur in the area of writing as each student rewrites each story several times before it is published and as student editors coach the work of reporters. The rewriting process can be tedious and frustrating, but it is a creative process, with the finished result born through numerous tiny steps of rethinking, reevaluation and re-creation. The fact students work together in developing stories enriches the creative experience, and makes teachers of students. In journalism, consequently, many students who feel (or have been told) they are weak writers find new confidence and discover talents they did not know they have.
But journalism is more than writing. It is also page design, photo and art direction, construction of the publication through computer programs and the interaction of observation, emotion, the written word and visual messages. And it is the creation of a finished public product pulled together for a specific, unforgiving deadline often under hectic circumstances demanding efficient and cooperative large group work respectful of individual talents and decisions.
All these facets, and more, of journalism are incorporated into the journalism curriculum against the background of mass media in contemporary society and the foreground of the student’s own experience publishing the school newspaper or yearbook.
Students are encouraged to enroll in journalism courses at regular registration time, however, students are welcome to enroll in the fall through the second week of school for Beginning Journalism and Advanced Journalism and through the fourth week of school for Yearbook Journalism.
Beginning Newspaper Journalism1230
Credit: 1 (awarded upon completion of the year-long course)
Beginning Journalism is open to all class levels. After an introductory unit studying mass media and production, students gather news, report and write for the student newspaper, the U-High Midway, and produce and sell ads to finance it. Experiences in producing the paper are related to mass media and current events. Videotapes, speakers, and field trips are included as time allows. Students in this course also study journalism as literature and conclude the year by studying newspaper design and redesigning the Midway. By the end of the year students know how to plan, report, write, edit, design, and evaluate newspapers and many find their view of the world has broadened rewardingly. This course also provides an introduction to desktop publishing, including word-processing copy and composing newspaper pages using the Pagemaker program.
Advanced Newspaper Journalism 1240
Pre-requisite: Successful completion of Beginning Journalism
Credit:1 (awarded upon completion of the year-long course)
Having completed a year as reporters, writers and ad sellers, and having learned how to produce, edit, design and evaluate a newspaper, students advance to planning the Midway, deciding its editorial policy, designing pages, editing copy, taking advanced story assignments, writing columns and directing the paper’s business management. Mass media, current events and journalistic trends are studied as time allows. Films with mass media themes also are seen and discussed. Because students can move among positions on the staff from quarter to quarter and the work is individually tailored, a student may take this course up to three years, and many do. This course also offers further experience in desktop publishing, particularly in using graphics and design techniques.
Yearbook Journalism 1250
Credit:1 (awarded upon completion of the year-long course)
Yearbook Journalism and Desktop Publishing is open to all students who can attend workshops which meet two of four Saturdays a month in fall and winter, then every Saturday in spring. Staff members also work after school and occasional evenings to meet deadlines. Some staff members also work into the summer, through early July, to complete the publication. The area of study basically is magazine reporting, writing, editing and design. Workshops begin with training in all aspects of yearbook planning, reporting, writing, editing, design and technical production. All staff members participate in selecting a theme and deciding other book elements. Then work on the book begins. Valuable experiences are offered in organizing and pacing a long-term project, working in a group, reporting incisively, writing richly but economically, self-editing, creating photography which accurately records both the visible and emotional aspects of history through teamwork with photographers and understanding the tools of print media. After the first year in this course, which can be taken up to four years, students can apply for editorships. This course also offers training in word-processing copy and composing yearbook pages on computer, starting with basic work for beginners and more advanced technique for advanced students.
Pre-requisite: Beginning Photography or enrollment in Beginning Photography or its equivalent or consent of instructor
Photojournalism is open to all students who can take quality photographs, have time available to shoot assignments during the school day, after school and occasionally in the evening and on weekends, and who can develop and print their photos. Film, paper, chemicals and a darkroom are provided. Photographers work in a team setting to produce photographs for the student newspaper, The Midway, and yearbook, U-Highlights. Emphasis on developing creative and imaginative approaches to picturing the gamut of school life encourages individual photographer achievement within a cooperative though sometimes demanding group effort. Photographers meet during lunch period every Wednesday to discuss assignments, achievements, problems and ideas. In addition, there are three darkroom class periods scheduled by arrangement with the instructor. Several times in recent years students in this program have received First in Nation honors for photos in the Midway and U-Highlights.