As Headlight’s Editor-in-Chief for the 2018/19 school year, one of my primary goals is expanding the newspaper to attract greater participation and readership both within school and around town. This has involved posting flyers around the school, encouraging students to join via morning announcements, and creating an Instagram to both make people more interested in the club and to promote articles by sharing links to each issue of our paper.
As a club, we are also dedicating effort to increase the amount of content that we produce each week. We are so grateful for the opportunity to publish our articles in the Marblehead Reporter, but we hope to soon develop an additional school-distributed version that includes more student-focused pieces and increases the level of interest for the newspaper within school walls. The question, however, is why? Why are our goals important? Why should students be interested in participating in or reading the newspaper?
The primary component is every newspaper is its articles. The production of articles requires the use of a variety of skills, including knowing and correctly using grammar, piecing together words clearly and effectively, and adjusting the style of a piece depending on the intended audience. All of these comprise the subject of writing as a whole. And writing is perhaps the most important and widely used skill in professional life. According to a study sponsored by The College Board’s National Commission on Writing for America’s Schools and Colleges, 86 percent of teens and 80 percent of parents feel that good writing skills are vitally important for success in later life. While essays in English class help students achieve this, the school newspaper offers an additional outlet for practicing writing in a way that also encourages the development of other useful skills.
Not only do students who write for the newspaper learn better how to communicate ideas through words, but they also become more comfortable with other expectations such as submitting work on time, working well with other people, and being prepared to take on the role of a leader, all of which are aspects of a real work environment. The school newspaper is arguably a simulation of the professional world, and learning the required skills for this world will undeniably help us, as students, in our eventual transition into contributing members of the workforce. The newspaper is also a platform for students to develop and share their beliefs. Any student who is angry, proud, or feels an urgency about a specific issue in school or around the is free to share his or her view, no matter if others agree or disagree with it.
This is why we are putting so much work into spreading the word about MHS Headlight. We want to create a greater awareness within school about the benefits of participating in the newspaper, which extend far beyond just writing more often. We hope that our actions will encourage students to join the club both to develop their own skills and to help us reach a greater audience both in school and out.