PRELMINARY NOTES: 2:30 p.m. session on how to engage journalists with public-school educators in order to help youth to become smarter media consumers and creators.
Notes by Bill Densmore
Typos not yet repaired.
Hanson Hosein -- keep hearing about helping people to be media literate. Find a way to harness that production. Come up with some kind of obligatory civics course for high school folks.
Neil Ralston -- Problem is the free-speech issue for students. Teachers have to teach about principles of free speech in an environment that does not allow free speech.
Hanson -- They are practicing it with their cell phones.
Karen Toering -- Why is it up to the public education system? Because we hold the public education system repsonsible for the indoctrination of culture so it makes sense for it to be there.
Hanson -- And creative productive citizens of a democratic society.
Karen -- We are teaching them how to be better consumers and capitalists but not necessarily practicing agents in a democratic society.
Bill Densmore -- Story about citizenship at MGRHS.
Peggy Kuhr -- Its not just learning -- what are you giving back? What does NCLB say about that.
Peggy Kuhr: Can some of that come through principals -- who believe studnets need to learn how to contribute and they want to find ways. His principal believes students should get out into the community. She hadn't thought of journalists; they were not seen as part of the conversation.
Bill: How to connect journalits with teachers.
Karen: Maybe connect more journalists with teachers.
bill: if you were head of the U.S. Dept. of Education, how would you make kids smarter media consumer and creators.
Karen: Would have to figure out innovative strategies. She would look to public-private partnerships. She would give incentives to schools that are innovative and resourceful to find what they need in their own communities with institutions of journalism -- radio, tv, newspapers.
Peggy Kuhr: Would look for partnerships. Build off of that; find people. Can I name one schools -- one rural, one urban area, get it out across the country, tired of the Washington-new York corridor determining all kinds of policy including what is journalism. Would want to disperse it into areas always heard about. Do some pilot projects. Her work was in a poor neighborhood in Kansas City, Kan. Leverage two feet into many feet -- use students. Use businesses who are willing to allow employees to be mentors. "People care a lot about journalism but they don't really know what to do about it."
Karen: What about bartering tax benefits?
Neil Ralston: Media employers should be interested in this -- people if they learn the value about free speech and press, they would be more likely to support.
Geneva: When she was at Des Moines it had already been cut out of budgets.
Shaffer: Small NIE program; also an active citizen study group sponsored by the paper and usually with a principal at the center. They generally showed a lot of interest in being a part of it. It was classic citizen engagement. Several hundred meetings over a six-year period. It came from a project at the Pew Center did and there were two Pew Foundation grants. Use the paper for a platform for civic dialog about education.
Peggy Kuhr: She look for her program for a paper underserved by media. They watch a lot of really bad TV. She wanted to go where there isn't and what are the stories that are missing and how can we tell the stories through the voices of middle-school students that are being missed.
Shaffer: That's a positive question. it is like an intevention into the life of eighth and nineth graders.
Hanson: At Univ. of Washington, got a little money from the Allen Foundation to get kids more engaged with democracy. Got money to lay out a little technology in Seattle neighborhoods. His thought is to use the cell phones. And ask kids about what's not working in your neighborhood and get kids to tell stories about that. Lance Bennett from the School of Communication is looking at this.
Hanson and Karen talked about what's going on in Seattle.
Bill: How do we make it in interests of media dexecutives
Geneva: connect it to peoples new media hopes. You persuade them that it is essential to their new media efforts in order to be effective.
Bill: How to bridge the gulf of the advertising connection
ACME pushback: My class is creating content for free.
Peggy: What about asking each media professional to adopt a class?
Karen: My blog is now on the MSM's paper's blog.
YOu are getting credit -- name and picture -- for the content. Your name goes into a pool which gets draw for a new iPod or a two-day internship at the place you want to spend a day, or a scholarship.
Kuhr: There are young people who are experts in their lives but how they are using cell phones. Marketing companies exploit that by following them around. But news organizations could learn from them. Could a bunch of sixth-graders say how they use a cell phone and be the learner.
hanson: Kids are coming in to talk to them about how they are using cell phones.
Neil: If this is so vitally important for schools, is it enough to talk about media companies going to individual schools and helping some students. Should we talk about media companies to pressure government to require schools to teach civic education.
Bill: what about about getting MCAS questions changed?
Peggy: If ASNE and APME gets more active in media education, there might be people here with the power to make something happen>
Bill: Opportunity to be a convenor -- just finding what's out there.
Bill: Mentions Shorenstein -- natural alliance.
karen: This kind of training might help kids to settle down and follow what's going on in the classroom because their minds have had a phsyical workout and know how to process stuff. She can go into her son's room; he will have his TV on, two turntables, one running; five screens open on is laptop and he is on his cell phone. it is madening. he has taught his brain how to multitask. Can teachers and journalists work to figure that out how that works, it might help them to figure out how to teach better.
Stephen Silha: What about gaming as a mechanism for engaging kids. What about developing a game which is very local. In Maine he worked with a wiki-based game around environmental and economic issues related to specifical local communities, and see how they could make decisions related to environmental and economic.
Neil: The challenge for those games is to figure out whom you shoot.
Peggy Kuhr: News University at Poynter did a "be a reporter" game and they did it with 7th and 8th graders, being an investigative reporter, solving something. It is a garbage issue and payoffs, and you have to go back to the sources. It is not that complicated, but you have to figure it out. And an editor pops up and have you got the story done yet. She did it with sixth graders. They have a lot more energy and enthusiasm for eighth graders. Two of the sixth-graders figured out a college-level thing. One sixth grader said, "This is just like CSI." (crime-scene forensics TV program). "I was amazed."
Karen: Their work is around, "You have the power to create your own truth."
Peggy: The teacher she was closest to working with suggested a field trip to the Kansas City Star. Visiting a newspaper is not that exciting. Twenty-two kids went. Two of them walked out raised their hands sayign they could see themselves working there someday. It opened them up. they walked down and asked what are people doing. The tour was a huge hit. Interest areas were page makeup and watching robots move around huge roles of paper.
hanson: what age is a good age to approach?
karen: it's the middle school -- grades 5, 6 and 7.
Peggy: The sixth graders were good. Some of the eighth graders too.
Peggy: The guys really get into sports. They are football fanatics. All age boys, that's what they really want to talk about and that was the news that they care about. What do you do with that? issues.
Peggy: The teacher said, "I'm seeing a different in these kids already. They have a lot more self confidence. The are more able to stand up and talk to adults and say what they think." That wasn't a goal of mine, but if I haven't done anything more than that, that's important.
Bill: What was it that produced that result?
Peggy: "I think we took the time and paid attention . . . a lot of kids were there because it was something to do after school." It was called Journalism Camp. It was from 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. You need a snack break. She did it once a week for seventh graders and twice a week for eighth graders. They did it from September through early December in Kansas City, Kan.
Karen: One of the big problems is "the cliff." "The problem I have with funders is what's next? Do we keep moving these kids through or go to the next group of kids . . . you get to the end of the 12 weeks and then what. And you know what it builds? Distrust.
Neil: What if you begin the program so it runs the whole school year?
Karen: Haven't had enough foundation money yet.
Peggy: Experience that the last day of the semester: "What do you mean you're not coming back?"