Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

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Blog: Notes From the Field, part one

Introducing the Blog

I’m Jake Pfeiffer, and for the past three years, my life has revolved around journalism. I joined the Central Times as a sophomore, and I quickly fell in love with writing. I enrolled in Blended Advanced Media Lab – the class in which CT’s Editorial Board meets daily – as a junior, and became our News Editor. One thing I learned pretty quickly is that the Central Times is not the norm for journalism programs across America. As a member of the National Scholastic Press Association’s Pacemaker 100 and Hall of Fame, I suppose it makes sense that we aren’t exactly “normal,” but as I began interacting with other publications at student journalism conventions, it was jarring to see how wide a range of quality there was across America’s journalism programs; you can find everything from one-page printouts hung on bathroom stalls to 32-page behemoths of newspapers, staffed by anywhere from three to 300 student journalists.

Now, as I enter my eighth and final semester at Naperville Central, I feel an obligation to do something about that gap in quality. I have a chance to give back to the institution of high school journalism, which has defined my life for the past three years in a way that nothing else has. This opportunity comes from a class offered at Central by the name of Humanities Capstone. Last semester, I took Illinois Global Scholar Capstone, which we at CT have reported on extensively, and this is largely the same thing: I’ll research a compelling question and speak with on-the ground experts in journalism before drawing a conclusion and taking some form of action to affect change. The only real difference is that my progress will be documented here, in a bi-weekly blog, rather than in a 50-odd page narrative for that class alone.

So, for the next four months, my blog will be here, updating you as I do what I do best: ask questions. Of course, there’s the big, overarching question: What is the best way to increase the presence of high quality journalism in public schools?  But there are also going to be dozens of smaller questions, all packaged as neatly as possible into this blog. To start, at least, I’m going to be looking into three smaller questions in an effort to figure out how I can best give back to the scholastic journalism community: What is the history of high school journalism? What is the current state of journalism, both professional and scholastic? And what are the ways in which that status-quo can be improved upon?

I can’t promise you that I know what direction this is going. What I do know, though, is that I am dedicated to improving the state of high school journalism in whatever way I possibly can, and that I am going to do everything in my power to have an impact on this community that has so greatly impacted me.

 

A schedule, of sorts

Here’s my current outline of what you can expect to see from my blog, and when you can expect to see it.

 

2/2 – A history of high school journalism

 

2/16 – An exploration of the current state of journalism

 

3/1 – Possible models for change

 

3/15 – My process of narrowing the possibilities into one model

 

3/29 – My progress on implementing change

 

4/12 – My progress on implementing change

 

4/26 – My final product

5/10 – Conclusion

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About the Contributor
Jake Pfeiffer
Jake Pfeiffer, Editor-in-Chief
Jake Pfeiffer is a senior, entering his third year on the Central Times staff, this time as Editor-in-Chief. Jake joined CT as a sophomore because he wanted to write news, but since then he has grown to love just about every element of journalism. While it is rare to see Jake anywhere other than the CT office, occasionally you can find him captaining Central’s debate team, watching baseball, listening to a seemingly endless amount of podcasts or drowning in college applications.
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