Friday, February 9, 2018

Gondar University Community School
7th graders eager to begin newspaper production
(Gondar, Ethiopia)-The best question, from the only young lady in the class, was indicative of the eagerness of all the students: “When can we get started making our newspaper?”

I understand their impatience, and love their attitude.

The youngsters, 7th graders at the University of Gondar Community School, seemed to understand my response, even though they weren’t thrilled that I was peddling patience. I told them simply that they had to learn some basics of journalism and reporting before they dove into producing a student newspaper, which will be the school’s first. I told my charges they should be able to begin the production process in 4-5 weeks.

Habtie,  helping students
Today, on the first day of our short course, we discussed what makes a story newsworthy, as well as news elements like proximity, prominence, drama, timeliness, and so on. The students also learned a bit about peace journalism. The session finished with an exercise where the students evaluated the newsworthiness of four stories. Based on their responses, I’d say the first class was a success.
These youngsters are all members of the school’s English club, which is ably directed by Peggy Landers, who is teaching English at the community school this year. Peggy and her colleague Habtie helped to organize the journalism course, the first of its kind at the community school.  

In my journalism class next week, I’ll launch into some newswriting basics, and give the students plenty of time to practice their writing. Also next week, and in each subsequent week, I hope I get asked again when production begins on the newspaper.

Budding journalists at the community school, Gondar

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