Advancing its interests in revitalizing scholastic journalism, the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has deepened its partnership with the American Society of Newspaper Editors through a $4.8 million grant to continue ASNE's national high school journalism initiative.
ASNE planned its three-pronged initiative last year with a $500,000 Knight Foundation grant. The program responds to two critical needs: to increase the pipeline of talented, diverse students into journalism, and to strengthen the understanding of all high school students of the importance of newspapers in a democratic society.
"This is an opportunity to capture the attention of people while they're still young and demonstrate the value of journalism, not just as a career but as an important engine in our democracy," said Knight Foundation president and CEO Hodding Carter III. "High school journalism, like high school civics, can be an invaluable introduction to the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a free society."
This year, ASNE's Journalism Partnerships Program paired twenty-seven daily newspapers with a local school or school district to support and develop a new or existing high school newspaper. The daily newspapers are taking the lead in training and mentoring students, teachers, and administrators interested in journalism.
In addition, six accredited universities — Ball State in Indiana, Hampton University in Virginia, Kent State in Ohio, the University of Maryland, the University of South Florida, and the University of Texas — will run ASNE's High School Journalism Institutes this summer, offering education and inspiration to some 200 teachers advising student newspapers around the country. The third component of the project will involve the expansion of a Web site — www.highschooljournalism.org — that offers students and advisers access to professional journalists and other learning resources.
The Radio and Television News Directors Foundation will use a separate planning grant of $429,000 to draw heavily on the ASNE program to create a blueprint for the development of electronic media programs at high schools. The grant will allow RTNDF to build on existing research to assess the quality of radio, television, cable, and Internet communication produced by high schools.