SNN Receives Grant to Promote Student Journalism, Workshops

The school news website created two years ago to serve staff, families and students could include writing from the students themselves about what goes on in their classrooms.

Kent ISD and School News Network (SNN) was recently awarded a $3,500 grant from the Gannett Foundation Fund to train and encourage student journalism.

As part of the grant, professional journalists from the SNN staff will visit classrooms, specifically in districts with large populations of disadvantaged students, to lead workshops on journalism and writing.

“We want to equip students to become student journalists,” said Kent ISD Director of Communications and SNN Managing Editor Allison Kaufman. “The workshops will give them an opportunity to engage with their community and district as well as provide a forum to publish their work.”

Following the workshops, SNN staff plan to work with teachers and district staff to encourage student writing for submission to SNN and other district networks.

According to studies by Kent State University, the number of school newspapers has fallen in recent years, especially those serving primarily low-income families. As school budgets were cut, journalism classes, along with other arts, often are thefirst to be stripped down or removed altogether.

“Journalism is a fascinating field that is undergoing revolutionary changes. Despite the economic challenges of the news industry, it remains one of the most rewarding careers out there,” said SNN Staff Reporter Charles Honey. ” I hope we can help students develop their journalism skills, and that they will help us tell the great stories of what’s happening in public schools. We need their talents and insights.”

Adrian Hirsch has been with SNN since its launch, starting as an intern from Grand Valley State University where he received a degree in broadcasting and business. After the internship, Adrian was brought on as staff to continue reporting, editing and publishing stories for SNN and Kent ISD. Adrian has been active with community radio station WYCE for years, served as Non-Profit Coordinator for GRTV, and currently works as the Web Producer for SNN.

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