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A city-wide contest by 8 newspapers - Argentina

A city-wide contest by 8 newspapers - Argentina

Article ID:

19764

Content: 13th and 14th year old students (first and second year in secondary school in Argentina) are invited to write a journalistique public affaires newspaper article (with the class) on very different topics. The eight works selected by a special jury of journalists (from all newspapers in Buenos Aires) will be published the same Sunday in the eight newspapers that come out in the city. In order to engage themselves in the research, they have to read newspapers to find about the type of genre, the style and, specially, the subjects usually research in newspapers are about. This is a school project, so it is the teacher who reads the newspapers (all newspapers) with the students in the classroom.

 

Country: Argentina

 

Newspapers: All (eight) newspapers in Buenos Aires city

 

Numbers of school that take part of the project: 140 secondary public schools in the city

 

Period of implementation: March- July 2002

 

How often the newspaper is used: As said, in order to write a research, the students need to read researches in newspapers. Usually published on Sundays (in special supplements) researches are very common in Buenos Aires newspapers. Teachers and students read newspapers during the whole project: at first to find out about subjects, about the genre. At the end of the project and once they finished their research, the students read newspapers to find out the style, structure, etc. The newspaper became a permanent source for this project. It has also to be said, that the newspapers will be certainly read the Sunday all the researches are published. By the students, teachers and more likely, the whole community interested in the students´ production. In March, when the project started, all newspapers in Buenos Aires, published a big advertising (the same in all of them) promoting the project. Those days newspapers were specially read by scondary schools in Buenos Aires.

 

Activities for teachers: This is a project addressed to schools. So, the contact with the teachers is permanent. The project was launched with a special presentation, given by a very well known journalist (very prestigious). All Language teachers from all secondary schools attended it. A month and a half later another round table, again by journalists from different newspapers, was organised and attended by these teachers. The topic was “How to write a research for a newspaper?”. In both workshops, teachers got special documents, and articles about this genre including activities to work with newspapers on research in the classroom. Students and teachers can also consult the web for more information and they get access to a permanent contact qwith the organizers through e mail address, phone and Fax.

 

School curriculum: The project has a deep relationship to the school curriculum, in Language and Social Studies. This fact was specially recognized by the teachers who happily admitted that they do not have to leave their school program aside to work on this project. In order to write their research, students need to read, to observe, to interview (different sources), to gather information, to process it, to think critically, to write and re write. These are precisely abilities specially mentioned in the school curriculum. It has to be said that Social Studies teachers were specially happy to focus the research on social problems also mentioned in the curriculum.

 

Literacy, citizenship and democracy: This project is strong related to literacy (the main abilities to be strenghened are reading, writing and, specially, critical thinking). But, as important as literacy, this project is strong related to citizenship education and democracy. Students learn to involve themselves in research projects, usually on issues realted to their community, and to their everyday life. They gather information (which very often they do at school) with the unique opportunity to publish it in one of the eight newspapers in the city. They start to feel their voice counts, and their opinion has also a place in the media and, through it, in the whole society. This is exactly what democracy means: decision making and participation. Thirteen and Fourteen year old students feel they can reach the community, and that they have a word regarding social issues that also affect them. With information (they themselves gathered) and with opinions (they themselves built).

 

Benefits to newspapers: Firts, it has to be said that this project has practically no cost for anyone. The main need is the space in the newspapers the Sunday that the researches will be published, bu this is practically all. There were two pedagogical documents for the teachers, but the cost was minimum (shared by all newspapers in the city). So, the cost was very little. The workshops were organized in public culture centers run by the city (the cost is free). Amnd the sepakers did no charge any money for their presentations. The benefits for the newspapers can be divided: institutional benefits (the institutiomal image among schools and parents) were immediate: many parents started to write and thank for this project, which –in their opinion- “helped the students to find a new motivation to go to school and engage themselves in reading and writing with a democratic meaning”. Readership benefits: this was also a quick result and effect of the project: As said, students and teachers started to read the newspaper in the classroom. Many adolescents do not usually read a newspaper (specially researches) and they started to discover their content. Circulation benefits: During the project, for some schools, this program meant to buy newspapers. But the main expectations are related to the Sunday when the researches will be published. Two weeks before the day, there will be an important campaign in all newspapers which will not only promote the researches, but also will let the community know what public schools in Buenos Aires have done. The program has already an important impact among schools: more than 85 per cent of them take part of the project. Finally, it has to be said, that this project started this year, one of the most difficult years for Argentina. No newspaper refused to take part of it. The social and democratic meaning  of this project and the need for the newspaper to be close to the community where it lives, are probably, the best reasons to this engagement.

 

ELABORATION

 

1. One thing you might elaborate on for me is the nature of a "research." It is not a journalistic term in English. You might mean, in-depth report or special report or public affairs reporting, as you emphasize the stories have to do with community issues.

 

1. ANSWER: Yes, I did mean in depth report in general, on public affairs, because these are in general the subjects and issues the students and schools choose. So, yes, you defined it well: in depth reports on public affairs.

 

2. Also, can you give some examples of the kinds of stories that were done. (Have the stories been published yet?)

 

2 ANSWER; Some examples are subjects related to young people such as adolescents and drugs (situation in Argentina), alcoholism (and adolescents, young people). Most of the reports are related to social issues such as: poverty (how people live, what happens with the new "poor people" as a result of the crisis) education (literacy and drops out in Argentina during the last years), expressions of solidarity (as a result of this crisis, new expressions of solidarity, from organizations or individuals, have emerged in the Argentine society, people who want to help people. The social situation is so powerful, that many schools have chosen to investigate about this, so they feel they do something.

 

 

Author

Aralynn McMane's picture

Aralynn McMane

Date

2016-04-07 17:27

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To help create a new generation of civic-minded, literate readers, news publishers must also assure that young people learn about the work and importance of professional journalism. Thanks to more than a decade of World Young Reader Prize entries, we have a wealth of examples of how to do just that. Read more ...