by Julie Dodd
JEA Mentoring Committee c0-chair

Scholastic Journalism was the textbook on the bookshelf in my first high school classroom. The previous adviser, who was being “replaced” by me, hadn’t used a textbook. The newspaper program was more free form with her, but the adviser before her had ordered the books.

Not having had a journalism methods course, I wasn’t familiar with high school journalism textbooks, so having Scholastic Journalism selected for me was a real help.

As all of us who have advised a newspaper program that doesn’t include any separate journalism classes know, one can’t teach journalism in a more typical classroom approach, with everyone moving through a textbook together. From the start of the school year, the staff needs to be doing it all — writing stories, selling ads, designing pages, and writing editorials. With Scholastic Journalism, I could assign different chapters to different students depending on what their assignments were for that issue.

This was a much earlier edition than the current 11th edition, one written by the original authors, Clarence Hach and Earl English. Unlike the current edition, the edition I used was all black and white, with little emphasis on design — and written in outline format. That outline approach was different and sometimes challenging for students, but that structure made the book very helpful for teaching — providing structure the main topics for presentation and discussion. The book was a great resource for me then and will be a great resource for us in the mentoring program to use with our mentees.

Mentors and committee members, what stories do you have about using Scholastic Journalism?