Let in-state training, e-edition work for you

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By Karen T. Braeckel
HSPA Foundation

As the first official day of summer rolls around, we find ourselves knee-deep in planning fall activities – with no intent to imitate the clothing industry.

(Does anyone else wonder why we’re supposed to shop for beachwear in February?)

Soon you will receive brochures about two great September conferences – Circulation, Sept. 20 and Advertising, Sept. 27.

We understand many of our papers cannot afford to send staff to out-of-state training, so we bring it to you in Indiana.

Mark Henschen, vice president of operations and circulation for the Arizona Daily Star (Tuscon), will present a variety of practical topics for your circulators.

Kelly Wirges, a veteran consultant and trainer for 20 years, helps media companies increase advertising sales and revenue.

She comes highly recommended by some of our member newspapers.

You will find more details about both on Page 1 in this edition of The Publisher.

Summer reading and into the fall

Until September, we can turn our thoughts to summer reading programs and preparing for the school year. (Please see free options in the sidebar.)

When the HSPA Founda­tion board asks how News­paper in Education is going, I sadly say not well.

And I’m not sure why.

Our newspapers spend time, money and energy trying to improve our digital product. Publishers say the expense of newsprint makes it difficult to continue selling or giving papers to schools.

I understand that.

But what about e-editions?

Some newspapers across the country now find sponsors for electronic versions. Students can use them in the classroom and learn about our product as an online resource.

The younger generation can run circles around us with their tech savvy.

A few weeks ago I watched a 5-year-old video a band concert on her mom’s cell phone – right down to zooming in while spreading her little fingers across the screen. (I tried not to stare.)

My grandchildren ask to use my iPhone or iPad – and that’s the last question I hear.

This weekend my granddaughter reminded me I could FaceTime her races at the swim meet so my husband could watch them at home in real time. I agreed I could as she pointed to the appropriate icon.

I shoot stills.

Are we missing an opportunity to get newspapers in front of students in a much more cost-effective way? No newsprint, no ink, no trucks that drink liquid gold.

Please pardon me while I insert a tidbit of educational jargon.

The words “informational text” appear over and over again in the Indiana Common Core Standards. (I know the legislature will give those a good hard look this summer, and I in no way want to get in the middle of that argument.)

But informational text defines newspapers!

Whether we keep that terminology or not, newspapers belong in schools – in print and/or electronically.

One media group in northeast Indiana just sent their annual report to the Indiana NIE Foundation.

A local foundation grants them up to $15,000 a year if they can match it with other funding. Every year they do and still provide hard copies to schools in their area – and teachers love it! (So much for print is passé.)

I will share some excerpts from teachers’ comments that accompanied the report:

• “We use the newspaper to annotate text (record our thoughts and feelings, connections, and ask questions), investigate text features as a way to quickly identify main ideas and important details, and respond to myself or others after reading news stories.

“I also use the newspaper in my reading class as a nonfiction text option.”

– Michelle Edington, sixth-grade language arts teacher, West Noble Middle School, Ligonier

• “But … the most important reason for having newspapers in my classroom … on most days after lunch my students have some silent reading time where they may choose anything to read. They race back from the cafeteria so they can be the first to grab a newspaper. I don’t see my students’ faces very often because they almost all have the newspaper held up in front of them. The bottom line is they’re reading!

– Michelle Talkington, Angola Middle School

I can’t say it any better.

Personal update

Thanks to all of your prayers, my husband’s latest tests show his pancreatic tumor downsized after eight rounds of chemo.

This week the surgeon will perform an operation known as the Whipple procedure to remove the tumor and resect the whole area near the pancreas. We are greatly relieved and blessed that the surgery can go forward. Please continue to pray for his recovery.

I will be out of the office for a few weeks but available on a limited basis by email. Please contact me at kbraeckel@hspa.com.

Karen T. Braeckel is director of the HSPA Foundation. Her column runs in the second issue of each month.

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