A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


Education Toolbox


June 6th, 2013 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

21st-century skills. Project-based learning. Problem solving. Writing for a real audience. Authentic use of technology. Media literacy. Critical thinking. Cooperative learning. Multi-disciplinary learning. Most likely you’ve heard these education buzz phrases, but would you recognize them in action? If you observed most high school student media production classes, you would.


April 10th, 2013 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

Many journalism teachers say the linchpin of their program is the coaching of critical thinking skills. Some high school teachers say the teaching of critical thinking can help save their program in the face of budget cuts. But how does one teach thinking?


February 7th, 2013 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

Truth remains the journalistic trump card, and accuracy is the foundation for truth. So my teaching involves trying to get students to value truth and accuracy. During the past few weeks, several truth and accuracy threads have cropped up for me.


December 5th, 2012 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

Edit a story or create a Storify? Enforce AP style or craft an SEO headline? Attend SPJ or head to ONA? Copy editors in today’s digital newsrooms face tough choices, as do copy-editing teachers and students. It can be a struggle to infuse online skills into curricula geared for print or even broadcast journalism.


October 3rd, 2012 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

I’ve learned through the years that thoroughbreds for the most part run to form. If you study a horse’s past performances in the horse gambler’s bible, the Daily Racing Form, odds are the horse will produce similar results. But horse players often face the dreaded maiden race — an affair for non-winners in which starters have a minimal number of starts or none at all.


August 7th, 2012 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

The Center for Scholastic Journalism at Kent State University recently produced its 2011 Scholastic Journalism Census. More than 1,000 public high schools from every state and Washington, D.C., responded to the survey. (Read the full survey report). Four primary conclusions emerged: • There is still a strong media presence in America’s public schools.


June 21st, 2012 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” I spent last fall living this adage, and I couldn’t be prouder. In June 2011, I was in Amman, Jordan, participating in a UNESCO-sponsored workshop on updating journalism curricula across Iraqi universities.


April 5th, 2012 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

Journalists who leave the newsroom for the classroom sometimes discover it’s not their own college classroom — or even their mother’s. “In my day …” and “When I was your age …” don’t cut it with today’s millennial generation. Getting plugged in to today’s students means, literally, plugging in — to Facebook, Twitter and texts.


February 6th, 2012 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

The Texas panhandle is close to establishing its very own SPJ chapter. When I arrived as a faculty member at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, one of my primary goals was to establish an SPJ chapter on campus. I soon learned that not only is there no student SPJ chapter in the panhandle, there’s no professional chapter, either.


December 2nd, 2011 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

If you looked at JournalismJobs.com on Aug. 25, you would have seen that in the reporters category for newspapers/wires, 59 out of first 100 jobs called for skills beyond traditional writing and editing. The list of skills employers wanted included a willingness to work in multiple platforms, including audio, video and print; multimedia experience; an understanding of Web analytics; and a high digital IQ.


October 4th, 2011 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

Holly Hall pulled together a great panel at the August Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication confab in St. Louis that addressed an increasingly important element of teaching journalism: how and when to use social media for newsgathering. The panel took on chunks of the topic that I’ll call LEP: Legal, Ethical and Professional considerations.


August 4th, 2011 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

Most of my Mass Comm 101 students at Virginia Commonwealth University were in elementary school when security forces in Eritrea, in the Horn of Africa, arrested Dawit Isaac, a reporter for the country’s largest newspaper, in September 2001. For half of the students’ lives, Isaac has been imprisoned without charges.


June 1st, 2011 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

A reporter should take three things to every story: a pen, a notebook and a heart. It’s impossible to tell the story of humanity without the heart tool. When a father drove 100 miles to Shepherd University and shot to death his two sons in their dormitory parking lot before turning the gun on himself, I had two questions for the editor of the campus newspaper: Do you know about this, and how are you doing?


April 4th, 2011 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

The news about a Feb. 22 call to the governor of Wisconsin from the Buffalo Beast website in which an editor posed as a politically conservative billionaire supporter provided an opportunity for some discussion in my Press Law & Ethics class.


February 2nd, 2011 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

It sounded like a good idea at the time. A former colleague who teaches at a local university asked you to give a guest lecture. You agreed, thinking, “This will be fun. They are just college kids, after all. I’ve been working for as long as some of them have been alive.


December 2nd, 2010 • Quill Archives, Education Toolbox
Education Toolbox

With the changes in news, many reporters, editors and producers are looking to academia for their next job. After all, how hard can it be to teach? Plenty, especially for someone who is not prepared for the classroom. What does it take to teach these days?