Bleeding the Black Ink

Students observe their world through NIE

Newspapers in Education -- a collaborative effort between the Moffat County School District and the Craig Daily Press -- not only introduces children to the fascinating world of journalism but to the world around them.

Empowered through the use of language, writing and reading, these young students are challenged to explore their community and consider their surroundings from unique perspectives.

The goal of the program is to hone the inherent inquisitiveness of the children. We help them to ask questions and then seek the answers so that they learn not only how to become more active members of the communities that they help to shape, but why it is so important to do so.

We encourage these students to sharpen their minds by becoming more aware of local, regional and national issues and support those students in their desire to take on topics vastly different than what they might be accustomed to learning. We encourage them to broaden their horizons and help them to understand that there is always more than one way to look at every situation.

Through workshops at Sunset, Ridgeview, and East elementary schools and Craig Intermediate School, young writers get a taste of the pride and passion that empowers our staff members every day. We work hard to inspire that same passion within our young correspondents as we introduce them to the fascinating world of journalism.

But we teach skills that go far beyond simply understanding how to read a newspaper or how to write a story -- we teach life skills. Our students leave with a real-life experience about how to get information, how to find a source, how to meet a deadline and how to take pride in one's work. We help our students to learn to depend upon themselves and to learn how to trust their own better judgment. We teach common sense with a very practical application.

The young writers learn first-hand about the importance of newspapers as a daily resource and how to navigate a newspaper to quickly locate the information they want and need. Through the strong relationships developed during the course of this program, it is the goal of the Craig Daily Press to instill the importance of reading newspapers in every young student, but also to forge a relationship with the very people who are the future of our business.

The school seminars teach young students about advertising, circulation, writing, reporting, editing and the overall newspaper operation with a strong emphasis on reporting. We stress that the entire newspaper operation can depend upon the writers who lend credibility to our products and who give people in our community a reason to read our product.

Following the workshops, students embark on field trips that correlate with a specific theme. This year, we explored Moffat County Public Safety Center, the Craig Hot Shots facility, The Memorial Hospital and the Craig Fire Department.

But the real discovery comes after these adventures. Our young correspondents get the opportunity to report about their experiences outside of the classroom and reap the rewards of seeing their work in print.

At the end of the NIE program, participating students get the opportunity to travel to the Craig Daily Press printing plant and watch their own special newspaper print. Because of the generous support we receive from our NIE advertisers, this program is offered at no charge to the students or to the school district and we have successfully completed our third year with the program.

What the students create through this compilation of writings reveals the intelligence and the willingness to learn that is cultivated at the elementary and intermediate levels in our school district. The teaching and administrative staffs at all of the participating schools have a vision far beyond classroom textbooks and it is with their support that we look forward to the 2004 NIE program.

For more information about the Newspapers in Education program, or to include your school in our schedule, contact Samantha Johnston at 824-7031.

"Bleeding the Black Ink" is a weekly column that aims at getting readers better acquainted with the Craig Daily Press, the First Amendment and the newspaper industry. Do you have a question or an issue for an upcoming column? Call Terrance Vestal at 824-7031 or email him at tvestal@craigdailypress.com.

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