Why CPSD Needs To Make Journalism a Requirement

Carmella Neal, Editor

Journalism is important. The 10-person crew that runs the Lakes Ledger has spent the past academic year learning and practicing their reporting, research and argumentative skills to come to this conclusion.  

In 2019, the Ledger was a printed publication that provided monthly editions placed in multiple locations around the school. The last time the Ledger was up and running was in 2005. Joe Clark, Lake’s Journalism Class Instructor, proposed a switch to an online publication to the CPSD through the use of Snosites, a media-platform site for students.  

The integration of online news has made the student published paper accessible and more popular that previous years’. Since its first publication in Fall of 2020, the Ledger has amassed 1,700 readers. For its students, receiving comments and starting discussion around covered topics has been valuable.  

Every month, student reporters publish multiple stories covering school, national, and local news. Some articles are opinions/editorials, giving students the opportunity to share their perspectives and arguments surrounding issues that affect them and their community.  

Throughout the news cycle, student reporters begin with a brainstorming session where they collect current events and stories that have recently passed throughout intersecting communities. They then draft, peer edit, and publish on assigned dates.  

With the year experienced, a space for processing has connected readers and writers together through the bond of news. A global pandemic, online school, civil rights protests and an election year have given the Ledger’s writers plenty to circulate.  

With the political climate and health crisis, Journalism has been even more influential than ever for students. Reporters have learned in-depth through class time, the need for factual and unbiased news in the American republic as well as a global setting. Social media’s grasp on information or more commonly misinformation, with its individually-tailored format designed to provide opinions and reporting that does not contrast its viewership, the young generation can fall easily pray.  

Structures like school can provide a steady outlet for students to receive an education about how to critically think and determine what is newsworthy and factual. As Gen Z gets older, a clear approach to understanding current events by finding credible and informed news is extremely necessary.  

Not only can students study and report on topics and events that interest them, they also are made to explore and read about others that they are not familiar with. Widening students’ scope of the news through real publications separate from Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook could greatly benefit their perception and interaction with the world around them, whether it be through social activism, environmental issues, or politics. If every student in the school district took a semester or even year of journalism, students would be more mindful of the communities they take part in.  

The Ledger’s success in building a base of readers is just one advantage of a committed and meaningful class: young reporters take with them the ability to see, process, and determine their values and opinions of their surroundings with an open mind.