Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How Are You Handling This Tough Economy?

The economy has led the news for several months. It’s the primary business item at most meetings regardless of the organization and the chief concern among many families.

I have been holding my breath when I check E-mails for the last couple of weeks as I worry that school corporations will start to announce that journalism positions or programs will be cut. Any school that could benefit from IHSPA support is encouraged to let me know. I will try to help any way I can by writing letters or speaking to people who influence budget items.

Although I have heard from people who are worried, I haven’t received specific bad news from Indiana advisers at this time. However, I wrote a letter last week to try to save the Executive Director’s position of another state’s scholastic press organization.

Most high school publications send reporters to school board meetings on a regular basis anyway, but this is an especially important time to do so as huge decisions are made about funding for facilities, programs and personnel. Budget details may be difficult to understand and boring to endure, but they teach student reporters a great deal, and they often affect more students and staff than any other area. (We can even hope that budget stories will improve math scores.)

As the news reports economic challenges for different regions of Indiana, I always associate the areas with the names of member schools. We are interested in posting in-depth stories we receive about the economy on the IHSPA Web site. Everyone could benefit from the variety of angles. In fact, your editors might begin their planning by reading this column written a few years ago by the public editor of the Detroit Free Press.

In addition, if your publications have discovered ways to save money in a time of decreased advertising revenue and/or subscriptions, send the ideas to me, or write an article to share with others. Remember that everyone benefits when we share solutions with each other.

Good luck as you face the final deadlines of the year. I look forward to hearing from you.

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