A new study reveals that while student media presence remains strong, only one-third of schools surveyed have any online student media. Additionally, schools that are smaller and poorer or have large minority populations are more likely to have no student media. The study by the Center for Scholastic Journalism is one of the most extensive national counts of American public high school student media ever conducted. The data suggest many scholastic media programs are neither exposing students to the media landscape they will confront once they graduate from high school, nor teaching students the skills they need to succeed in a multimedia world. Highlights from the 2011 Scholastic Journalism Census include:
- 96 percent of schools surveyed offer some opportunity for students to create content in a school-sponsored journalistic activity;
- Schools that are smaller, poorer or have a large minority population are more likely to have no student media;
- Only 33 percent of schools have any online student media. Barely more than one quarter (27 percent) of print student newspapers have an online component and only 8 percent publish exclusively online.
The results around the lack of access to creating online content is particularly troubling because the Knight-funded Future of the First Amendment surveys have increasingly shown that young people are using digital media for news more often that newspapers. Soon, digital media will surpass even television as the top news vehicle for young people. To increase student access to online media, Knight Foundation has been supporting highschooljournalism.org, the largest digital news site in the nation for high schools. The study’s principal researchers were Mark Goodman, Kent State University Professor and Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism; Candace Perkins Bowen, Kent State University Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for Scholastic Journalism; and Piotr Bobkowki, University of Kansas Assistant Professor. They sampled more than 4,000 public high schools across the nation and combined information with demographic data from each school to present a unique picture of journalism. The Center for Scholastic Journalism, based at Kent State University, is a national clearinghouse with information for and about student journalists and their advisers, a research center on issues affecting scholastic media, an educator of journalism teachers and an advocate for student press freedom and the First Amendment.