UM – Creating High School Journalists
Many have noticed - newspapers are disappearing from the American landscape. The smaller newspapers have been absorbed by larger newspapers and those larger newspaper corporations have been absorbed by others. As an example, the Ravalli Republic newspaper in Hamilton was a 5-day-a-week publication. It is now a 3-day-a-week newspaper. Papers in other small towns have completely disappeared. We've seen reports of the loss of local journalism, but another loss is that young people are not getting the daily "newspaper" experience of the past. The replacement is the internet, which can be good or bad. How do you determine the difference?
The UM Journalism School is attempting to ramp up the interest in reporting by getting high school students interested before they enter college. And, if the school's recent efforts are any indication, they have having some success.
The Montana Media Lab at the Missoula campus has a Summer Camp for high school students, which is a one-week, hands-on experience of reporting, writing, editing and photography, along with sports reporting and podcastng.
With funding help from Humanities Montana, they've kept the registration fee very low, and this year's July session is already full. It will be at the Don Anderson Hall, School of Journalism, July 17-22.
UM adjunct professor Courtney Cowgill said in a news release, "It's never been more important for the next generation to understand the impact that media and journalism has on them individually, on the communities they are a part of, and on democracy and society as whole."
The Media Lab also goes on the road. This year, they traveled to Lodge Grass, Great Falls and Harlem, Montana. In the past years, high school students have done their own reports in other towns - Polson students researched the Flathead Lake monster, Hays-Lodgepole reported on the new Nakota language textbook, Box Elder students found out about community volunteer projects, and Heart Butte students had a report on a solar project. The lab also has been at Seeley-Lake, Ronan, and in Missoula high schools.
In a news release, Media Lab assistant director Mary Auld said, "Young people spend much of their lives online, so it's important they know how to parse fact from fiction in digital spaces. Our workshops help them find the truth in the media, so they can understand the world and advocate for themselves."