How to Survive the School Newspaper

It was the spring of 2013. I was completing my first year of teaching when the counselor came barging into one of my classes to ask if I wanted to teach Newspaper. Sure, I said. It’ll be fun, I said.

I had no computers, three or four “published” newspaper/newsletters/crossword puzzles that were handed out that year, a meager amount of college journalism from community college, a few free-lance articles in university, a mom who studied journalism in HS and Mizzou for a few years, and absolutely no idea how to proceed. But that’s education, I guess…

Needless to say, I’ve muddled my way through the last three years; I’ve made many mistakes both
grammatical and ethically. I’ve had many kiddos run through my room with eagerness to put out good news and eagerness to be insanely annoying. I’ve taken the newspaper from being a rag-tag bunch of pointless articles and a lunch menu to actual news and good sports coverage. We are still printing on 11x17in ledger paper, but we have three columns and a mast-head so… that’s something. Two years ago I bought a book called The News0819151450paper Adviser’s Survival Guide off of Amazon (way before my student Prime account expired). I looked at it a bit. Copied a few lessons for when I was absent. But let’s be honest: I never really cracked into it… As a new teacher, I didn’t really have a lot of time to dive into creating a new curriculum for an elective — because as we all know, electives have as much enthusiasm and support as a marching band with no instruments.

But let me tell you… it’s a great book. If you are an advisor, read it. And then read it again. It’s more geared toward big newspapers that are actually published on news-paper, but it gives a lot of good tips on how to organize your staff and the articles you produce. It’s brilliant. I myself have learned a lot as I’m going back and teaching good news writing practices. I think this will be our best year yet, simply because we are all on the same page. Get it, same page?! Ha!

If you’re thinking of starting a school newspaper, do it. It’s a fun elective when you have kids who care! I do it with two school computers and my laptop and 16 of the coolest kids I know.

What helps you with your school newspaper?



The Posted Paw Volume 1 Issue 3

I was approached about teaching Newspaper at the beginning of the year and I was terrified. I have approximately one semester of News 1 at Independence Community College under my belt. That’s big time news. I did editorials and sports. Ms. Thomas said I was too wordy. I’m sorry I can’t explain things in under 800 words! Get a bigger page!

That to say… I’ve come to enjoy Newspaper. I have a motley crew of good writers and nappers. It’s just how the game is played (so I’m told). I do what I can with what I have. I have an editor who is graduating and doesn’t do anything but help pass out the paper on Fridays (more on my editor). I have a co-editor who makes the paper what it is. I have a handful of writers who like getting down to the nitty-gritty. And then I have those who begrudgingly hand me copy on Wednesdays and slowly type their stories. What we have done, together as a unit, is transform the Bethel newspaper into something people actually look forward to. We have pictures, polls, real news, Bethel goings-ons, and even a coloring page on the back! We will certainly not win any awards any time soon, but our production is neat and tidy.

My editor and co-editor are passing out this edition: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

We still have a lot of errors and we need to figure out a template that works a little better. But when the English teachers, the principal, the secretaries, and the librarian all look at you and say “You are doing such a good job with the newspaper,” you just want to sit in that glory for a moment…