Why journalism education is important [Contest Winner]

Last week you were asked to answer the question “Why is journalism education important?” for a chance to win 25 copies of The Digital Journalist’s Handbook for your classroom. The winning entry came from Chris Waugaman, teacher and adviser to The Royal News at Prince George High School in Virginia:


“The purpose of education is to make our young citizens better people. So how do we do that? We teach them to be empathetic. We teach them to listen to others. We teach them to understand how to communicate with each other. We teach them to be ethical in their actions. We teach them to consider both sides of an argument. We teach them to adapt to the changing world around them. We teach them to view the world through a different lens. We teach them… journalism.”

Chris had this to say after he was notified of his winning entry:


“My program started eight years ago educating students with two computers and copies of handouts from the internet. I can’t believe I actually have a class set of something. Even though I have taught three sections of journalism now for a couple of years, the school has never been able to afford textbooks for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My kids will definitely benefit from this award.”

By request, here are the entries from the contest finalists:

Rima Abdelkader, Multimedia Journalist:

“Uncovering the truth is contingent upon ethical, skilled journalists who could tell the story as accurately as possible in any medium. Whether reporting in a war or areas of media censorship, it’s been our job to gain access, and bring the world closer to the people. New technology has made that easier — bringing the world nearer to disaster, and to its bitter rival, fortune. No matter how different the story will look like in years to come, there will always be a journalist to tell it. We are contributors actively engaging the world — whether through our pen or technological device. The struggle will be there. The will to tell it will always be in demand. Supplying journalism education will not only be able to help fill that void, but it will also encourage those who-d like to pitch story ideas to local reporters how to do it, and in the end, create a more participatory society.”

Anselm Bradford, School of Communication Studies, AUT University :

“When you read this message it will have travelled thousands of miles in the blink of an eye. We live in a world that has relatively recently experienced a revolution in information. News can travel around the world in an instant. With that accessibility and speed of information come information overload and the possibilities of digital manipulation of content. It is important young journalists are taught old school journalistic ethics and new school multimedia technologies to enable them to communicate the world’s stories with integrity, effectiveness, and comprehensive coverage. The Internet is only as useful as the
content it contains.”

Jana Smith, Journalism Adviser, Nixa High School:

“There would be no democracy without journalism. Journalism provides the facts needed to make educated decisions. Most people don’t have the access, time, or training to find the answers to questions that keep the world going, but journalists do. Properly trained journalists are the protectors of truth in a time that many people are too apathetic to care. It is up to the next generation of journalists to make them care.”

Congratulations to Chris and to all those who participated!

Publish date: May 11, 2010 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/why-journalism-education-is-important-contest-winner/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT