Scholastic Journalism 2005 Abstracts

Scholastic Journalism Division

War, Politics and the Journalism Classroom: Resistance to News in a Divided Education System • Sara-Ellen Amster, University of California-San Diego • This paper describes a three-year study of Southern California journalism students’ attitudes toward the news media and politics. It explores their coverage of September II, 2001 and the conflict in Iraq. The study also examines the effect of unequal American education on three journalism classrooms and teen attitudes toward conventional news. It explores the way teaching and perceptions of school officials about student press freedoms affect cynicism, resistance and alienation of teenagers toward the democratic system.

Teaching Teachers about Media Literacy: A Survey of Faculty in Colleges of Education • Jane Baughman and Donica Mensing, University of Nevada-Reno • The need for young people to “become intelligent, competent consumers and creators of media messages” (Considine, 2002, p. 23) is becoming increasingly clear. This study examined how media literacy is conceptualized and taught by faculty at Nevada’s eight Colleges of Education. The results of the survey show that faculty agree on the importance of media literacy education in teacher training, but that few have received any training themselves.

Is We There Yet? Mass Communication Students and Grammar Ability • Steve J. Collins and Tara McNealy, University of Central Florida, and Kimberly Bissell, University of Alabama. • Using a survey of students enrolled in an upper-level mass communication course at a southeastern university, the authors examined students’ performance on a 20-question grammar quiz. The results offer plenty of reason for concern. The average score was 10.8. Students struggled with such basic distinctions as the differences between “its” versus “it’s” and “doctors” versus “doctors.” Further analysis indicated that students who’d matriculated from a community college did significantly worse than other students.

Hazelwood Revisited: A Free-Speech Perspective • Thomas E. Eveslage, Temple University • It was 17 years between Tinker v. Des Moines and the High Court’s ruling in Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier. Now, 17 years after Haze/wood, it is time to take a closer look at this heavily criticized case. This paper will answer the following: What evidence exists that student journalists could use Hazelwood to gain more press freedom? The paper will examine court rulings and legal doctrine to see whether policy and practice, legislation and litigation provide hope that the chill of Haze/wood can be reduced.

The Impact of a Civic Journalism Project on Reader Knowledge, Attitudes and Stereotypes • Maria Knight Lapinski and Sue Ellen Christian, Western Michigan • Student newspapers are published for a variety of reasons, one of which is to have an impact on reader’s knowledge of or attitudes about a variety of social issues. This manuscript reports the outcomes of a civic journalism project in a high school designed to impact knowledge, attitudes, and stereotypes about Muslims post-911. Findings indicate sex differences for knowledge and attitudes. The intervention had some impact on stereotypes but not attitudes or knowledge.

Help From A Hoarse Horse: Homonym Exposure and Journalism Students’ Writing Grades • Bruce L. Plopper and Sonny Rhodes, University of Arkansas at Little Rock • Using a longitudinal design, this study investigated the effect 11 weeks of homonym exposure had on journalism students’ writing class grades. Results showed that for journalism majors receiving such exposure, post-treatment writing class GPAs increased slightly but not significantly; however, the writing class GPAs of journalism majors not receiving homonym exposure declined significantly. The writing class GPAs of non-majors remained stable, with or without homonym exposure. Implications for journalism writing class pedagogy were discussed.

Use of Palm Handheld Computers in a Study of University Communications Students • Judy L. Robinson and Julie E. Dodd, California State-Fullerton • In this exploratory study, a small group of communications students in a large university were given a Tungsten E and a keyboard for a semester. Students attended weekly meetings to learn software and hardware applications and to discuss how they were using their Palms. The students were very comfortable in incorporating Palm use into their academic and personal lives.

What do High School Journalism Advisers Really Want? An Exploratory Study of the Future of Scholastic Journalism • Andi Stein California State-Fullerton • This paper explores the future of scholastic journalism, using Southern California high schools as a sample. The study evaluates the state of high school journalism programs in Southern California by assessing the current resources and needs of instructors/advisers. The study is designed to find out what programs instructors/advisers have, what kinds of preparation they bring to these programs, and what they would like to see from local colleges and universities in the way of training and resources for their programs.

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