What if you don’t have enough students in your journalism class for it to be an elective or if you're just trying to grow recognition and engagement for years ahead? What can you do to grow your own publications staff? It’s all about knowing what buttons to push. It’s all about recruiting and marketing.
Here are the best tips for how to do it, courtesy of El Cid at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, CA:
1. Spread the word in other classes you teach and have your staff do the same
“You’ve got to continually sell your product and sell your class. … My big sales pitch to my other English classes [goes something like this] … ‘Hey, there’s only one class on this campus that can get you published and help you start building an actual portfolio.’ Once you get one byline, you want another."
2. Go out recruiting in classes during and leading up to registration week
“I send out the editors. We want to [reach] the English classes, particularly the honors and AP English classes. So, the kids go out and sell it in the classes and sometimes I’ll pop in unannounced and give them a little two minute fire-them-up speech on the importance of the written language and being a good writer.”
3. Push your awards when talking about the class and publication
“Once you start winning awards, word spreads. Writing good stories and having them lead to awards … The SNO Distinguished Sites platform really gave us a platform to toot our own horn.”
4. Market the site through other school-related communications
“We made it into a little news story in El Cid. I worked closely with our communications director, who then promotes it not only on the school website but in her different communications, quarterly newsletter or updates through an email blast. Word got out that we were a SNO Distinguished Site.”
5. Be visible teachers and students — everyone should know who you are
“I’m standing out in the hall, outside of my door [...] every day.”
6. Develop good relationships with people who can help you spread the word, like counselors
“I bumped it up with the counseling department. We talk about networking. You have to be good to people. We have a pretty big slate of electives that we offer here. … I think the counselors [really pushed it for us].”