What is the best way to learn about the world? For students, there is no better way than a newspaper — no matter what platform — print, digital or mobile. Every day, newspapers deliver key information about world governments, local communities, economic shifts and scientific discoveries.
Classrooms across America spent this week focused on their local newspaper coverage as they celebrated Newspapers in Education Week with a wide range of lessons and discussions. Readers of all ages trust newspaper content more than any other form of media, so it is logical that students would refer to their local newspaper to place today’s event in the context of the larger story and foster civic engagement.
By teaching our students to thoughtfully dissect the news, we are fostering critical skills such as good writing and clear communication that will serve them well in any field they choose to pursue. The newspaper in the classroom is far from a new concept because newspapers have always educated citizens of all ages.
However, the way news is dissected is changing. People read newspapers in all forms, regardless of the platform. There is no one-size fits all approach. Some students will read a print edition while others will rely on their laptops or smartphones to catch up on the news of the day. They also turn to Twitter or Facebook to see what news is trending, get real-time updates and engage with reporters like they have never been able to before.
It is an exciting time for newspapers as these new avenues open up for students to get involved, whether they are politically motivated or interested in a journalism career. As an example, at our NAA mediaXchange 2014 conference in Denver this month, a crew of student journalists will cover the sessions and develop content for NAA.org. Our industry is looking at the way forward and that includes the next generation of reporters, editors and publishers — and readers.
We know that the Millennial generation is engaging with newspapers at an outstanding rate as recent studies show that 56 percent of adults age 18 to 34 read newspaper content every week and 71 percent access newspaper content in a given month. These are staggering numbers that reveal the true breadth and scope of the newspaper industry.
The newspaper industry has transformed, but we remain committed to our core principle of reporting the events of our world, informing citizens and championing free speech. I’m honored that the newspaper industry has this opportunity with Newspapers in Education Week to partner with schools across the country and inspire the next generation of leaders.
Caroline Little, president and CEO, Newspaper Association of America, Arlington, VA