Teachers spark teen journalists and news consumers

As part of the American Society of News Editors' aggressive national effort to grow youth journalism, news literacy and access to new media tools, 172 teachers from 38 states have completed the ASNE Reynolds High School Journalism Institute.

RESTON, Va. – As part of the American Society of News Editors' aggressive national effort to grow youth journalism, news literacy and access to new media tools, 172 teachers from 38 states have completed the ASNE Reynolds High School Journalism Institute.

“As journalism business models undergo fundamental economic transitions and there is a growing flood of information online, programs like this promote quality journalism and grow news consumers who demand it,” said Pamela K. Luecke, co-chair of ASNE's Education Committee. She is the Donald W. Reynolds Professor of Business Journalism at Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va.

“These teachers impart the life skills of writing, reading, communicating and critical thinking. And they prepare the next generation of journalists and news consumers in areas that include ethics, multimedia, the First Amendment and news literacy,” said Rex Smith, co-chair of ASNE's Education Committee and editor of the Times Union, Albany, N.Y.

ASNE's recruitment includes intensive outreach to schools in urban and rural areas where journalism programs are most under stress. The teachers were selected from a competitive field of 541 applicants, the largest number of candidates in the program's nine-year history.

Since 2001, 1,441 high school teachers have completed the Institute, and most continue to teach journalism and/or advise student media. Of this year's group, half teach at schools with minority student populations of 50 percent or higher. Of the teachers, nearly 20 percent are people of color.

This ground-breaking ASNE initiative is funded by a three-year, $2.3 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

Five accredited university journalism schools hosted the ASNE Reynolds Institutes. The attendees earned continuing education credit, with all expenses covered by ASNE through the grant:

  • Arizona State University, Phoenix, June 14-26.
  • Kent State University, Ohio, July 5-17.
  • University of Missouri, Columbia, July 12-24.
  • University of Nevada, Reno, July 12-24.
  • University of Texas at Austin, July 19-31.

Each journalism school added its unique strengths to more than a dozen journalism topics and skills outlined by ASNE. Dozens of ASNE members and other news professionals along with scholastic journalism leaders also helped, supplementing the university faculty.

The Institute helps teachers:

  • Develop a framework for helping students make sound news and ethical judgments.
  • Gain stronger reporting, writing, editing, photo, Web, multimedia, graphics and business skills needed to help students start or improve independent student media.
  • Focus on news reporting and writing.
  • Instill a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, the First Amendment.
  • Extend the learning by sharing their training with 10 peers.

Follow-up support is key to the Institute's success. The teachers receive paid membership to:

  • The Journalism Education Association.
  • The teacher's state or regional scholastic press group.
  • The Student Press Law Center.

A Web site is provided for student news at, the world's largest host of teen generated news.

The teachers also receive subscriptions to American Journalism Review and Columbia Journalism Review. Each teacher has been given the building blocks of a classroom media library, including an AP Stylebook, a primer on scholastic press law, press ethics and news writing guides.

The editor of the top newspaper/local daily news organization in each teacher's community is being notified and encouraged to contact the school's journalism class or club.

ASNE is the principal organization of leaders of news organizations. Founded in 1922 as a nonprofit professional organization, ASNE focuses on professional development and journalism-related issues. ASNE promotes fair, principled journalism, defends and protects First Amendment rights, and fights for freedom of information and open government.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it is of one of the largest private foundations in the United States.