There is hope for journalism, these kids are proof

Two words my reaction to the video above: shock and hopefulness.

This summer, middle school students from the Porterville Unified School District are learning about journalism at my high school, Granite Hills. And when I say "journalism" I don't mean it in the traditional sense. They're learning digital journalism with a cirriculum I have yet to see on a college level:

  • Reporting: Interviewing, writing leads, taking notes, editing
  • Multimedia: Video production (using Final Cut Pro!), audio editing, photo editing
  • Beyond basics: Photoshop, Illustrator, 3D graphics, animated graphics, HTML
  • Understanding news: reading the New York Times to understand news article structure and get a grasp for world events

All the mini-sessions are being taught by fresh high school graduates -- the very kids who were little high school freshmen when I was editor in chief (including my little brother, the one teaching the HTML session).

My initial reaction was to compare skills being learned by these 12-year-olds to those skills of college reporters I work with. The 12-year-olds win. The video above, although not perfect, is more well-produced than what most Mustang Daily reporters achieve by the end of a quarter on staff. And the fact that recent high school grads can teach skills that colleges are struggling to teach only further mesmerizes me.

And think about it-- these are just kids! Listen to the voice of the young girl who narrates the video. She sounds like she should be narrating Sesame Street. She still has six years until she graduates high school, ten years until she graduates college. If kids are learning these skills right now, imagine what they'll be able to do with it by the time they get to the professional industry.

Back when I went there (2003-2007), I helped get the program on its feet, and I'm so proud to see where it's come since then.

As I tweeted earlier, I am absolutely blown away. And, also, a little terrified. At this rate, these kids will put me out of a job.