Students go behind the scenes with NLP


Harlan Community Academy students visited the Chicago Defender newspaper on March 21 to learn about the 106-year-old publication’s important role in the Great Migration.

The students were part of Harlan’s After School Matters journalism program, led by teacher Lauren Lykke. Student articles appear in the magazine Say What, a publication of Young Chicago Authors.

The Defender, located on Chicago’s South Side, focused on civil rights advocacy in its early days, said managing editor Kathy Chaney. Now stories are more objective and must rely on facts, not rumor, she said, adding that she is very selective about her own news sources. She said sometimes reporters have to “ear hustle” to separate fact from fiction when covering breaking news. Students also met with Chicago Defender president Michael House, who told them that the paper is always looking for ways to attract younger readers.

The visit wrapped up with a tour of the newsroom, lined with black-and-white archival photos of leaders in the African American community, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor.

Coming up in Washington, D.C., between 10 and 20 Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School students will visit the Newseum on Sunday, April 29. Their visit will include the taping of ABC’s This Week and a behind-the-scenes look at the work of the show’s staff and crew. The students, in grades 10-12, are covering the bulk of NLP’s curriculum in Kyle Morean’s computer applications class, exploring news literacy through a variety of online media.

The end of April is set to be an active time for field trips in New York City. On April 27 middle school students in Marie O’Shea’s semester-long journalism class at De La Salle Academy will visit the newsroom of NY1, Time Warner’s 24-hour local news channel, for a tour led by Melissa Maguire, an intern at NY1 and a NLP fellow. That same day, students in Jaclyn Spencer’s semester-long current events and news literacy class at the Bronx Academy of Letters will visit The Wall Street Journal for a tour.

Then on April 30, De La Salle students will visit Columbia Journalism School for a tour and an interviewing workshop led by J-school students. The visit is part of the department’s centennial celebration.

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