I began my adventure in teaching online newspapering to fourth and fifth grade kids back in January at Pelham’s Colonial Elementary School and added the second, Hutchinson Elementary School, last month. I’m having more fun in journalism than I’ve had in 2o years.
You see, being the jaded journalist is a bit of pose. How can you have the one thing a great journalist needs— curiosity—and be jaded? The kids bring this incredible curiosity to the job, plus energy, and no jade.
One of my favorite moments is when the kids launch their new paper. I have each one type in a few letters of the URL, and then they count down, 5-4-3-2-1, and one of them pushes the enter button. I watch them, not the screen. Up comes the paper and eyes go wide. A couple whisper “cool.” The kids at Hutch did that two weeks ago with the Hutchinson Bear. Check out Pelham’s newest online newspaper.
Any day a newspaper starts up—even one reported and written by nine- and ten-year-olds—is a special one. What’s been started is going to get the news out for months and years to come. The kids don’t know to give up on that good work. And I’m not going to give them reasons to.