Newspaper in education (NIE) programs have done their homework to start the school year right. NAA caught up with Jodi Pushkin, manager of the Tampa Bay Times NIE program, to learn about her curriculum plans.
1. What drew you to working in news media?
I started to become interested in journalism in junior high school. I have always loved to write, but as I learned more about the concept of newspapers being a community watchdog, I became more interested in the field of journalism. Learning more about my community and politics in high school drew me more into the profession.
2. What is the most exciting thing going on at the Tampa Bay Times Newspaper in Education program?
Everything going on at the Tampa Bay Times Newspaper in Education program is exciting. The most exciting aspect involves pairing our original curriculum materials with the new Florida Standards. As an informational text, the Tampa Bay Times is an exceptional resource, and providing original curriculum supplements to help engage students and teachers in the Times is one of the most enjoyable and exciting aspects of my job.
3. What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned while working in the NIE program?
As a writer, reader, English teacher and longtime fan of journalism, I was surprised to learn how cross-curricula the newspaper is for educational purposes. Teachers of all age groups and all subjects use the Times in creative ways in their classrooms. The more educational programs I write to incorporate the news in classrooms, the more I realize that the information within the newspaper — text, graphics, photos — can be used in all classes from first-grade subjects to Advanced Placement social studies to remedial English, math and drivers’ education.
4. What are you looking forward to the most about this school year?
I love writing new curriculum that incorporates using the Times in the classroom to help engage students and enhance their critical thinking and writing skills. Every time I write a new educational program, I learn something new, and sharing what I have learned with the teachers is exciting and motivating. I am looking forward to writing more curriculum, working with the teachers and continuing to learn more about the new Florida Standards.
5. How do you see the future of news media?
No matter what form news media evolves into, it has a strong future. News media is alive and well. News media has been an evolving genre since its first incarnation as word-of-mouth. Most of the changes have been positive and more inclusive. As with other things, there are positive and negative aspects of the evolution. Although the Internet and creations of digital editions have changed the way news is gathered, there is still nothing like a printed newspaper. Despite the rumors, young people, as well as many adults, still read the printed newspaper, and I do not see the desire for the printed paper going away any time soon.
Members of the News Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.