First issue of the new school year

University High's The Wildcat's first issue of the new school year.

The first issue of the new school year of The Wildcat, University High School’s student newspaper.

Now that the school year has begun, your journalism students are probably putting together their first issue. Here’s The Wildcat, the the student newspaper at University High, which published its first issue this week.

Please share your first issue in the comments below so you can inspire others. If your publication is online only, please post your URL so others can see your students’ work.

We’ve never done a full-page photo, but The Wildcat’s cover might encourage my students to do that. Congrats to The Wildcat staff and their new adviser (and my friend) Alexandria Lau.



CSUN’s Daily Sundial moves from daily to weekly publishing

As a high school journalism teacher who has been trying to get her newspaper students to post their work online before it goes to print, I applaud the push of digital-first publications. My students have done great these past two weeks of the new school year when they posted new content every single day. Not bad for a small (450-student) public school where news doesn’t often happen.

But it saddened me when I read the news today that Cal State Northridge’s 57-year-old daily newspaper is changing to a weekly one to focus on their online and mobile content starting this week when the new semester begins. The Daily Sundial been publishing four days a week and will be renamed Sundial as a weekly.

I am a product of the Daily Sundial, having spent one semester as a staff writer and another as news editor in the early 1990s. Yes, publications need to adapt to the digital age and produce content on a regular basis online. But I still believe that there is a place in the world for print journalism.

I still have a daily newspaper delivered to my home and it’s read with my morning coffee before I leave the house every day. It’s been a routine of mine since my high school days. And when I was a daily newspaper reporter, I read at least two print papers in the morning.

I use online publications (mostly via Twitter) to keep updated on news throughout the day. I don’t automatically log onto a news website to browse through their articles. It’s usually a link via social media that takes me to their site and a particular story.

As CSUN’s Sundial moves to publishing once a week, I’m sure more college papers will follow. And eventually high school papers (those that are still around) will cease to exist as they post their content only on their website. That, to me, will be an even sadder day.

Excellence in Journalism Day at Chapman University on Sept. 6

High school journalism students and advisers can attend the Excellence in Journalism Day at Chapman University on Sept. 6 for free.

The event will include 12 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, two Emmy award-winning broadcasters and two New York Times best-selling nonfiction authors. The event is organized by the Orange County Press Club and Chapman University’s Journalism Program. The list of speakers is on the Press Club’s website.

The event is from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Participants will have a 90-minute lunch on their own.

To register for this event for free, email and let them know you’re a high school adviser and have your students mention they’re high school students, according to O.C. Press Club President Dennis Foley. Other groups have to pay to participate in this conference, so make sure you email them to let them know you’re attending.

“I have to keep up with the news?”

I don’t know about your students, but my students need to be reminded that they need to keep up with the news, whether it’s local, national or international. One activity I like give my Journalism 1, newspaper and yearbook students during the first week of school is a news scavenger hunt activity.

This is the first activity I have to reinforce the idea that students need to keep up with the news, so I don’t hear “I have to keep up with the news?” as much as the school year unfolds.

The activity serves various purposes. First and foremost, it reminds them of the major news that happened during their summer vacation. Second, it helps them meet other classmates since students are supposed to go around asking other students for the answers. Students are speaking and listening to one another as they search for the answers. When students are done filling out their news scavenger sheet, we go over the answers together.

The news scavenger hunt is just a grid with four rows and four columns. Each box contains one question about a major event or activity that was in the news for several days. In addition to political questions like the migrant children coming from Central America, I will include entertainment and pop culture questions too, because after all, we are in the entertainment capital of the world.

If you’d like a copy of my 2014 summer News Scavenger Hunt, leave your email in the comments section or email me at As soon as I finish the handout, I’ll post a link to a Google document here.


Yes, you can be a certified journalism teacher

In this podcast, I discuss a few ways that teachers can be certified journalism teachers. I also interview a fellow journalism adviser who plans to seek certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. (If you use Safari, you may not be able to hear SoundCloud.)

Summer Journalism Workshops for Students

This is a news video one of my students did the reporting on during the two-week Cronkite Institute for High School  at Arizona State in June.


Since I attend workshops during summer to brush up on journalism skills, I encourage my students to also sign up for summer workshops. Workshops not only teach students new skills or reinforce what I’ve taught them, but also offer an opportunity for students to learn additional leadership skills, become more independent and responsible, meet other high school journalists, visit new cities, and sometimes, experience their first time away from home.

Most of the workshops I suggest they apply for are free workshops, which are often competitive. I encourage students to apply if I know they’ll be returning to the newspaper or yearbook staff, especially if they’re taking on the role of an editor.


This year’s in-coming yearbook editor-in-chief was among the 44 students from across the country selected to attend the Asian American Journalists Association’s J-camp, a week-long hands-on journalism workshop that is taking place this week. She’s so excited about being at Emerson College (her dream school) in Boston that she’s sent me a couple of texts about her experience, including one about meeting the school’s dean of admissions. She’s my third student who’s attended AAJA’s J-Camp. The students’ work from each camp is posted online so they can share the work they produced with their classmates back at school.


Four of my student editors have attended Newspapers2, a week-long workshop based in Cal State Long Beach. They have a variety of strands, including reporting and writing, photography, design, online and one specifically for editor-in-chiefs. They also have sessions for advisers, which I’ve attended for two summers thanks to a grant from the McCormick Foundation for LAUSD advisers.That grant paid for registration for two students and I was able to secure other grants for the two other students to pay for their registration fees.

Recent graduate Carlos Godoy, who was on the newspaper staff for three years, attended both Newspapers2 and AAJA’s J-camp. He enjoyed the challenge of having to go out into the streets and find stories to cover; instead of just sticking to their campus, which students often do for high school publications.

“You don’t focus on people that are around you. You have to go find resources. You’re kind of on your own,” said Godoy, who served as editor-in-chief of the school newspaper for the 2013-2014 school year. “You know what more you can do, as opposed to being guided.”

Godoy also relished the socializing opportunities of meeting other student journalists and professional journalists, and exploring a new city, in his case, Washington D.C. which is where J-Camp was held last year.

“You’re working and exploring with other people. There’s also bonding time with the people you work with,” said Godoy, who picked up design skills in Newspapers2 and video broadcast tips at J-Camp. “You can chose what to cover. You can make it fun and make it your own. It’s a really good way to enrich your skills so when you go back to school you are a bit brighter.”


This summer, our incoming online editor-in-chief attended the free two-week Cronkite Institute for High School Journalism at Arizona State University and was able to direct, edit and appear on screen in their broadcasts and news videos. The video at the top of this post is just one of the videos he worked on. Since my news video and broadcast knowledge is limited, I can’t wait for him to share his experience, videos and new-found knowledge that the rest of the staff when the new school year begins.