Writing For A School Newspaper, Pros And Cons
A Great Experience
For two years in high school, I worked on the school newspaper. In my junior year, I was the head of the news department. My senior year, I was the editor-in-chief. During these two years, I became very familiar with the pros and cons of a school newspaper.
My newspaper was printed multiple times a year. It was created mostly during school hours. There was a journalism class where we learned the history of and technical aspects of creating a newspaper. In this class, we also got to work on our pieces. Our advisor was this great guy who would get us invited to local press conferences during school hours. I learned a lot from him, not just about creating a newspaper, but also how to oversee the work of others.
When it came to press time, all of the editors had to stay after school to decide on what stories to print and how we wanted the paper to look. It would take days to get the paper to look just right. I always loved reading the proof from the printing company. It filled me with a sense of pride and gave me more of an idea of what went in to making a newspaper.
My senior year, as the editor-in-chief, I would have to go to each department of the school and personally hand out a copy of the paper to each head. I would have to point out the stories of particular interest to them. If they had any complaints, they were sent to either me or the advisor.
Of all of the tasks I did as editor-in-chief the one I am most proud of is the development of the advertising department. Before me, there had been no ads in the paper. Our paper was paid for by the school which limited the amount of issues we could put out and the amount of copies we could make. The year after I graduated, the paper was paid for by the ads.
The obvious pro of writing for a school newspaper is that, not only do you have the freedom to express yourself through writing, you also get to see your work in print. Another pro is that you get to fine tune your writing skills. Still another definite pro is that you get to learn about the workings of a newspaper. These three things combined, you stand a good chance of working professionally on a newspaper one day.
The cons are pretty much a side effect of the pros. While you get to write pretty much what you want to, you often are edited for content due to space and risking offending others. Also, you have to deal with the criticism of your readers. Creating a newspaper is a lot of work and responsibility and while I may see this as a pro, you may see it as a con.
Some of my best memories of high school are associated with the newspaper. I got to work with some great people who I wouldn’t have worked with otherwise. I got to meet public figures and be treated as an adult by them. I got to write creatively and effectively during school hours. For any student or parent of a student who loves to write, I wholeheartedly recommend joining the school newspaper.
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