Amazing Kids! Magazine

Five Easy Steps to Start a Newspaper

By: Natalie Brady, Jr. Assistant Editor

Step one: Having secure sponsors. It’s important to have strong corporate sponsors. Andrea Brady and Brenda Ely are two advisors of a school newspaper apart from their jobs: Brady runs a marketing business and Ely is a certified educator, who works with toddlers, infants, and preschoolers. They started their newspaper three years ago and they have four local corporate sponsors who believe it’s a great program. Without their sponsors, their newspaper could not have succeeded. It’s expensive to run a newspaper; even with the sponsors, the students had to pay a small fee for the program.

International Paper is one of the sponsors Brady and Ely have, and they provide paper and printing for their newspaper. This allows them to have a paper newspaper and not just an electronic version. “It’s important to have a physical paper that students can hold, take home, and carry around,” says Brady.

The Community Press, another sponsor, is a local paper where Brady and Ely live. They print some of the better articles in their weekly paper. The editor of the Community Press and a reporter come in and talk to the students about their jobs and skills they need.

Step two: “Having a committed staff of students who are willing to take on the responsibility of teamwork and commitment,” says Brady. The students have to meet the deadlines that are agreed to by the staff. “We aim to publish four to five issues a school year,” Brady states. “To do that, you have to stick pretty close to your schedule.”

In Brady’s experience, sixth grade is the right point to start a program like this. The kids have the writing skills and level of responsibility required for a program like this. Everything was up to the students: from the name of the newspaper to the articles that were included.

Step three: Developing, testing, and adapting materials. Brady and Ely looked for curriculum pieces. They had to teach kids about the three kinds of articles: feature, news, and editorial, how to edit, how to interview, how to write appropriate news stories, and more. There was no curriculum available for them to use, so they created their own curriculum; the key piece was the interview guide, developed by Ely.

“A good teaching tool, no matter what age it’s for or for what it’s teaching, is something the students can go back to and read over and over,” says Ely. There are many different versions of graphic organizers that students use. In this case, Ely made the interview guide a packet, taking students through the steps of what to think about, what questions to ask, and more. It also has extra pages for the kids to write notes from their interviews. As the students use the interview guide, they tweak it as they go along.

They taught different aspects of the program as they moved through the process. They changed things as opportunities emerged. “During the teaching process, we were moving the actual paper forward,” Brady said.

“I’ve tried to have input into the curriculum based on what I know is good teaching practice,” Ely says. Ely used her experience with kids to help make the newspaper even better than it already was. “It’s been a lot of fun for me working with children who are older because I usually work with preschoolers, toddlers, and infants all day.”

For the name and masthead of the paper, they used a majority vote. Brady and Ely used this three times with three different newspapers, and it all went smoothly. For the articles, the kids went out and talked to people, trying to find out good ideas for article topics. Articles were assigned on a rotational basis.

Brady and Ely encouraged kids to keep their eyes open for story and picture ideas. “If you go to a talent show, for example, take some pictures: it could be handy if someone ends up writing an article on the talent show,” adds Ms. Brady.

The kids spent several weeks interviewing and writing articles. They would work in and outside of class to get their articles done.

Step four: The advisors put the newspaper together. There was no time for the students to do the layout. After the layout, the students edited, and after they edited, the principal had to approve it. Then the paper was sent off to the paper.

“It’s so exciting to hold your first newspaper in your hands and see how thrilled the kids are to see their articles in the paper. Then it’s even better to have the kids see their classmates reading and loving their paper,” says Brady, and continues, “It gives the students a huge sense of pride and accomplishment.”

Brady, Ely, and the parents of the students who participated have found the program to be very successful. “Usually students don’t have an opportunity to participate in student newspaper programs until Jr. High. I think it’s important for kids to have the experience earlier because it’ll get them excited about writing and it’ll strengthen their writing skill for the future,” states Brady.

So what are you waiting for? Here’s step five: go out and start your own newspaper now!

One comment

  1. Sophia Lee /

    I love it xx