Journalism teaches thinking

Arlington, Va. – High school students who participate in school journalism programs earn significantly higher grade point averages, score better on college entrance exams and demonstrate better writing and grammar skills in college compared with students who had no involvement with their school’s newspaper or yearbook, according to a study of more than 31,000 students released in April by the Newspaper Association of America Foundation.
The research, “High School Journalism Matters,” confirms findings from a study conducted by the Journalism Education Association and ACT in 1987. In both the 1987 and 2008 studies, students with journalism experience had higher scores than non-journalism students in these areas: High school overall grade point average, ACT Composite score, ACT English, college freshman GPA and college freshman first English course grade.
“ASNE applauds this NAA Foundation study, which is must-reading,” said Gilbert Bailon, 2007-08 ASNE president and editorial page editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Journalism helps students get a rounded education. It teaches literacy, critical thinking, diversity and community connection. It helps youth emerge as tomorrow’s leaders and stewards of our precious democracy.”
Of the 31,175 respondents in the study, nearly 20 percent – or 6,137 students – were on the staff of their high school newspaper or their high school yearbook. An executive summary is available at naafoundation.org.
“If schools want to motivate and have motivated students who are involved in a multiplicity of activities, clearly journalism is a significant component of that,” said Gene Policinski, vice president, Freedom Forum First Amendment Center.
“In this day and age, when school systems are so concerned about academic performance, no school can justify not having a student newspaper and yearbook,” said Mark Goodman, Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism, Kent State University, and member, NAA Foundation Youth Services Committee.

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