Columbia Scholastic Press Association
Phone: (212) 854-9400
CSPA is affiliated with the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in the City of New York.
Summer Journalism Workshop - Class Description
Enrollment is limited to the first fully paid 25 participants for this class.Serving in a key leadership position on a student newspaper can be an empowering experience. Not only will you have the opportunity to exercise your many journalistic passions, but if you maximize your tenure as editor, managing editor, or page editor, you will find many ways in which you can challenge yourself as a leader and find ways to grow as a person, as well.
The purpose of this newspaper leadership sequence is to give you tools that will help you carry out your duties as leader of the newspaper staff. The ultimate goal of this sequence is to make your job more clearly defined, give you tools and confidences to carry out your duties efficiently and effectively, and, when school begins, enable you to “hit the ground running.”
During the week, we’ll use a variety of settings (individual, small group, large group) to share and exchange ideas, to problem solve, to draft and compose, all the while recognizing that oftentimes the best learning experiences are extemporaneous and spontaneous. Come prepared to talk, to contribute, and to exchange dialogue with your peers from around the country.
When we’re through with the week, you will have a much clearer perspective of:
• Your role as editor-in-chief, managing editor or page editor: the many hats you’ll wear; leadership techniques; ways to ensure your success.
• An overview of your school newspaper, with input from your classmates and suggestions from the instructor.
• The importance of staff job descriptions; staff organizational charts; ways to facilitate staff education and motivation; how to create and use a staff manual.
• Using issue-driven coverage for increased readership; how to implement an editorial campaign.
• Contemporary writing trends for today’s newspapers.
• How to expand your newspaper’s editorial leadership and commentary pages to improve reader dialogue and exchange of ideas.
• The importance of design as a tool that can improve both readership and receptivity of your newspaper.
What we will do:
• We’ll look at all phases an editor’s job entails, from working with the staff and adviser to administrator relations and “rally-er of the troops” — to story development to page design.
• We’ll discuss production planning and scheduling.
• Students will view outstanding student newspapers from across the U.S. to use as a springboard for evaluating their own publications. Then, a specific plan of action will be drafted, with a detailed “to-do” list” of things to work on to make your newspaper the best it can be.
• Students will review sample job descriptions and staff manuals. Then, students will begin the process of writing a staff manual for their newspaper. This is an on-going process and will not be completed during this week.
• We’ll discuss how current events and social issues can be localized for coverage in your newspaper and we’ll look at more engaging ways of covering routine campus activities. We’ll also discuss the importance of a focused editorial campaign and zero in on topics for consideration in your own publication.
• To improve readership in our newspapers main stories, we’ll discuss what makes a story compelling and engaging to the reader and learn ways to write stories which draw readers in.
• We’ll look at editorial leadership opportunities and obligations and discuss legal and ethical issues. We’ll also look at ways to expand the commentary and ed-op content to engage more of the school community.
• Through a power point presentation, we’ll learn how to utilize a variety of visual techniques to improve your newspaper’s appearance.
What to bring:
• This will be an ambitious, busy week so we need to see “where you come from.” In other words, bring 2 sets of your newspaper from the most current year. Be prepared to discuss with the class your newspaper’s strengths, weaknesses, and your main goals for improvement.
• Bring any organizational tools/planning helpers your staff uses (production schedules, story development forms, staff manuals, job descriptions, flow charts, and the like).
• Also bring your burning questions, your frustrating challenges––even your insecurities. We’ll use the energy and synergy of the group to deal head-on with the myriad of responsibilities school newspaper leaders face. If it’s important to you, we’ll find time to discuss it. By investing a week with student journalists from across the U.S. you’ll leave here fired up, confident, and fully prepared to lead your staff in the coming year!
This session is for:
Editors in chief, managing editors, assistant editors, editorial directors, page (section) editors. This session is not for newspaper staff “rookies.” It is designed for experienced newspaper students who are in leadership roles on their respective publications
Ray Westbrook is newspaper and yearbook adviser at St. Mark's School of Texas and serves as first vice president of the CSPAA. Publications he advises have been awarded Gold Crowns, Pacemakers and Gold Stars. A frequent speaker at publications workshops during the summer, he was awarded a Gold Key by CSPA and the John Murrell Excellence in Teaching Award from St. Mark's in 2007.
CSPA is an international student press association, founded in 1925, whose goal is to unite student journalists and faculty advisers at schools and colleges through educational conferences, idea exchanges, textbooks, critiques and award programs.