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The student journalist: Roles of the scholastic press in the 21st Century
Unformatted Document Text:  Scholastic press roles 5 that permeated Western, predominantly American society (Christians, et al., 2009; Nerone, 1995). Christians and colleagues (2009) focused on media roles in relation to a given country’s type of democracy. Their normative roles of journalism included a monitorial role, a facilitative role, a radical role, and a collaborative role. While their “theories” emphasized roles of the media that were developed without any particular type of democracy in mind, they theorized that a country employing these roles would have some sort of democratic framework. While the roles are difficult to apply to a non- democratic governmental system, we can borrow from this framework to explore high school journalism because, for the most part, most school systems employ a similar administrative system. For example, most schools are run by a series of administrators, with a clear hierarchy from administrator to teacher to student. It’s appropriate, then, to explore normative roles because of the shared administrative system under which most schools operate. No empirical work has been done to specifically explore the normative roles of high school journalism and how those roles have changed over time. The most complete overview of roles comes from the well-known book Journalism Kids Do Better, by Jack Dvorak, Larry Lain, and Tom Dickson (1994). They suggest that the journalism teacher may feel that her role is ambiguous, sometimes emphasizing opposing values. In addition, the role of the high school paper changes from school to school (and, perhaps more importantly, from administration to administration). And that variation has changed over time. Dvorak, Lain, and Dickson introduce two broad perspectives: the utilitarian and the conceptual. The utilitarian perspective focuses on outcomes and has included the following viewpoints: mechanistic, which focuses on journalism as a mechanism for

Authors: Maksl, Adam.
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Scholastic press roles 
5
that permeated Western, predominantly American society (Christians, et al., 2009; 
Nerone, 1995). Christians and colleagues (2009) focused on media roles in relation to a 
given country’s type of democracy. Their normative roles of journalism included a 
monitorial role, a facilitative role, a radical role, and a collaborative role. While their 
“theories” emphasized roles of the media that were developed without any particular type 
of democracy in mind, they theorized that a country employing these roles would have 
some sort of democratic framework. While the roles are difficult to apply to a non-
democratic governmental system, we can borrow from this framework to explore high 
school journalism because, for the most part, most school systems employ a similar 
administrative system. For example, most schools are run by a series of administrators, 
with a clear hierarchy from administrator to teacher to student. It’s appropriate, then, to 
explore normative roles because of the shared administrative system under which most 
schools operate.
No empirical work has been done to specifically explore the normative roles of 
high school journalism and how those roles have changed over time. The most complete 
overview of roles comes from the well-known book Journalism Kids Do Better, by Jack 
Dvorak, Larry Lain, and Tom Dickson (1994). They suggest that the journalism teacher 
may feel that her role is ambiguous, sometimes emphasizing opposing values. In 
addition, the role of the high school paper changes from school to school (and, perhaps 
more importantly, from administration to administration). And that variation has changed 
over time.  Dvorak, Lain, and Dickson introduce two broad perspectives: the utilitarian 
and the conceptual. The utilitarian perspective focuses on outcomes and has included the 
following viewpoints: mechanistic, which focuses on journalism as a mechanism for 


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