First Amendment and my high school newspaper

Journalism / Article

Editor’s note: Lee Oglesby is interning in Knight Communications department this summer. Below, she shares her thoughts about the first amendment and her high school newspaper. Look for a few more posts from Lee in coming weeks.

This week I’ve been reading up on the Future of the First Amendment survey – a Knight-sponsored survey that reveals how little high school students know about the first amendment – and the High School Journalism Initiative, a program that hopes to fix this problem while encouraging students to love journalism.

I graduated from Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High (a public-magnet school in north Dade) a year ago and, frankly, I’m not surprised that kids my age don’t know about the Bill of Rights. Sure, they’ll use ‘free speech’ as an excuse for just about anything. But actual knowledge is limited and few kids think it actually applies to them as students. If you told an average student from my high school that the rights of the First Amendment had been extended to secondary students in 1943, they’d be shocked.

With that said, first amendment awareness at Krop wasn’t all bad. The school newspaper, The Lightning Strike, is pretty good. Actually, it’s really good. Readership went up dramatically in the span of a few years and several of the students I knew who took the journalism classes will go on to be great journalists.

As I was writing this and browsing the newspaper’s online site, I spotted the Knight Foundation logo in the corner. Turns out my high school paper had some help from the High School Journalism Initiatives. Go figure.

What was your high school newspaper like?