What’s in Your Toolbox?


By Linda Barrington, MJE

Having the right tool for the right job is essential, especially in the classroom.  As journalism teachers and media advisers, we need up-to-date resources, or tools for the job.

Journalism toolbox

I highly recommend the JEA curriculum as a starting point for teaching tools.  Available to JEA members via password on the http://curriculum.jea.org website, this is a goldmine of resources, well worth the yearly $65 membership fee.  The White Paper, available without password, explains clearly the importance of journalism in the curriculum:

“Students who work on high school media learn critical thinking, researching, interviewing, writing, editing and creating visuals while collaborating with other staffers to produce a product for an audience. In schools with strong journalism programs, students also learn how a free and responsible press can improve their school communities by informing, entertaining and influencing their audience. They model civics in action.”

The White Paper goes on to cite studies and recommendations by other professional organizations as to the value of scholastic journalism.  It explains how the JEA curriculum fulfills the requirements of today’s educational initiatives, including Common Core State Standards, Partnership for 21st Century Skills and Career Technical Education.

Many other tools are at online resources:

JEA Digital Media Committee

JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee

Student Press Law Center

Society of Professional Journalists

API (American Press Institute)

The New York Times Learning Network

The Poynter Institute (courses, resources, tools)

Middle School Journalism by Jessica Spears

Journalism Guy’s Update by Gary Lindsay, MJE

Web English Teacher

KEMPA resources

So, what if the tools are there, but you need more direction, something more specific and hands-on?  Classes, workshops, seminars, webinars.  Don’t overlook these opportunities for learning and professional growth.  KEMPA offers yearly events for both you and your students:

Summer Journalism Workshop at Marquette University, July 17-20, 2016
Courses for students and for advisers with option for 1-3 grad credits. Option to take CJE exam.

Winter Advisers’ Seminar at Lake Lawn Resort, March 4-5, 2016
Focus on broadcast with option for one grad credit. Option to take CJE exam.

Fall Scholastic Journalism Conference, October 2016
Nearly 100 sessions for students and advisers

Keep sharpening your skills and updating your toolbox.  KEMPA is here to help you do that.


Linda Barrington, MJE, is the graphics adviser for the Arches feature magazine at Mount Mary University in Wisconsin.  She is KEMPA executive director and chairs the Winter Advisers’ Seminar.  She is the chair of the JEA Mentor Program and vice-president of the Wisconsin College Media Association.  Her blog focuses on advising and the importance of KEMPA.