Say what, Kansas? (Part two)

3 Nov

I recently wrote a post about the Kansas Board of Education potentially cutting high school journalism funding. I did some digging, and while some sources say the cut is definitely coming in 2012-2013, others aren’t so sure about what’s going on.

I expect to have something definite to comment on in the near future.

I hope it's good news. Otherwise, Dana will be angry. And smash. Grunt.

In the meantime, my father recently e-mailed me an article from the Kansas City Star, which actually gave me some heart, especially since it features my alma mater — Shawnee Mission West High School.

In a nutshell, the article explores how convergence journalism — being able to write and film and edit and make a graphic, etc. — has finally come to area high schools. At West in particular, the school now offers a “Convergent Media” class. Broadcast and print are working together for the first time, the students are finally maintaining a website and even business classes have pitched in to help drum up advertising.

If this doesn’t scream to educators that high schools are trying to enter the new realm of journalism and stay relevant — one of the conditions they have to keep journalism funding — I don’t know what does. Are high school newsrooms a little behind the rest of the country? Sure they are. But movements like this naturally trickle down — from large media institutions to smaller ones and colleges to high schools, at the end of the line.

When I was attending West just three short years ago, I never would’ve dreamed of doing anything like this. It was 2008 and we didn’t even have a website, to my knowledge.

It was totally like this.

High school journalists are clearly taking great strides. From experience, I can honestly say that a setup like this would’ve benefitted me before I came to KU. Sure, I’d heard about convergence journalism while in high school but the idea was something far off and misty. Me, produce video? You’ve got the wrong girl. Things didn’t hit home until I was standing, video camera in hand a year ago, trying to figure out how to load a tape and hoping I’d bought the right kind from Wal-Mart.

To stay on track, high school journalists need all of the money that they can get. I’ve said it before, software, video equipment, computers, teachers with journalism education degrees, it’s all necessary and it’s all expensive. We need to support high school journalists because their experience dictates, to a degree, the future that college and professional organizations face. If they aren’t exposed to journalism or aren’t exposed properly, they won’t pursue it in the future, quickening the so-called “death of journalism.”

Because, in the end, journalism matters. Bloggers are great, but they oftentimes provide commentary, not news. We need professionally trained journalists out there doing it  right. Just because people are buying less newspapers doesn’t mean they no longer want to know things — they’re just cheap.

Scrooge: The poster boy of American news consumerism.

I hope the Board of Education weighs its choices heavily before coming to a decision on this matter instead of giving in to the “doom and gloom” voices around it. It would restore my faith — at least a little bit — in the future of this state and my profession.


2 Responses to “Say what, Kansas? (Part two)”

  1. Terry Dahl November 6, 2010 at 5:38 am #

    Nice article Dana!!!!

  2. Cathy Starnes November 11, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    Good job, Dana. You make an aunt proud!

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