As one who facilitates (can’t really call it teaching) a high school newspaper staff (can’t really call it a journalism course), I was very interested in Steve Taffee’s recent Blogg-Ed Indetermination blog, “Student Newspapers Are Dead! Long Live Student Newspapers!” Click here to read the blog. Steve is a long-time, noted education blogger and I tend to agree with him most of the time. And I agree with most of this blog. Yes, print newspapers are bad for the environment and paper costs the schools money. Online newspapers can offer readers richer formatting and color, video, and audio. And articles can be published to the web as they are finished rather than having to wait for the rest of the planned articles to be written, edited, rewritten, laid out, printed, and distributed.
Now, I hold no special sentimentality about newspapers in general. They are destined to become relics as they are rapidly being replaced by other media. But for now I believe there remains a vast audience out here for the paper bound school newspaper simply because many inner city school students too often do not have regular access to the Internet. That situation is changing, of course, as home computers and Internet access become as necessary as TVs, even among our poorest citizens, but we are not there yet. And the current recession has slowed down our progress(?) in that direction. So at least in schools like the one where I work, the printed school newspaper not only is alive but it is flourishing.