School Press Week, organized every year, allows students to learn about reading newspapers, hear journalists talk about their profession and understand the interest of a pluralistic press. Lawrence Corroy, University Professor, University of Lorraine.
It is also an opportunity to get acquainted with the works of students and the media that they develop in their educational institutions. On the occasion of the Maison de la Radio School Press Exhibition, let’s revisit some highlights in its history. With two centuries of existence, these media are truly a mirror of the concerns of young people and their attitude to current events, politics and the world around them.
Gymnasium newspapers appeared as early as the 1820s, to which we have evidence from contemporaries, which, unfortunately, have not been preserved. The first surviving newspapers date back to the Second Empire, around 1860. Although these newspapers were banned, they were distributed in schools.
Diary 1868, Young people, has bold editor Alfred Sirkos. The latter, despite the obstacles, managed to publish this two-week issue in more than a year, which tells about the school world, the severity of the boarding school, boredom in the classroom and the concern of high school students about their future.
Of the laws of 1881, which established true freedom of the press, school newspapers multiply. Youth rightsThe weekly, which went down in history in 1882, the newspaper addressed directly to the minister in charge of school education, made proposals on the content of the programs. He approaches major newspapers to open a weekly column for him.
The newspaper managed to get out in Paris, as well as in Lyon, Marseille and Lille, being rebroadcast by the national high school club. In the 1890s, the news made its mark in the columns of the youth press with the hot topic of Captain Dreyfus’s innocence.
At the beginning of the twentiethas well as century, the school press, although not legally in existence, continues to circulate and multiply throughout France. During World War II, underground newspapers appeared, written by students and high school students, some of whom joined the ranks of the resistance fighters.
The consequence of this is that after the Second World War the average age of journalists is decreasing. Journalists in the lay press continued their editorial escapade after the end of World War II. Coming out of the war, young editors demanded independent journalism and civic and civic activism.
During the 1960s, school action committees formed in December 1967 demanded freedom of expression in high schools. There are about fifty in France, including twenty in Paris.
The events of the spring of ’68 will accelerate the momentum. In May 68, thousands of treatises and daily newspapers appeared, written by students and high school students. For titles written exclusively by high school students, the duration and conditions of existence remain highly unreliable. Press organs are banned in secondary schools, which allows the administration to crack down on editorial teams when they are known.
The end of the 1980s again became favorable for high school students to perform in public space. Political decisions radically change the status of high school students and allow legal recognition of their press organs. In 1989, the Council for School Life (CDVL) was established under the Orientation Act for the purpose of “giving an opinion” and “making suggestions concerning school life and work”. The fall of the Berlin Wall in the same year excited the school press.
High school students receive the right to assembly, the right to associate, and the right to publish. This principled position becomes pragmatic after the adoption of the decree of February 18, 1991, allowing, in the school context, the free distribution of publications sent by high school students.
The news selected and processed by the school press consists of three layers. The first is associated with adolescence, characterized by puberty, which is accompanied by significant bodily and psychological changes. This puberty news is intersected by questions about otherness, desire, sexual relationships. Articles may have a tone of humor (giving advice on how to please the opposite sex), use a poetic form, or approach the issue from a social point of view, touching on the issue of sexual orientation, gender stereotypes or homophobia.
Required news for teen high school students is related to local news, marked by local high school life. At the first level, the reality of the class is relevant. Thus, these are articles dedicated to teachers, their kind words, small incidents that highlight the expected daily life of high school students. At the high school level, organized activities concern high school students of different grades and levels.
Concerns about bachelor’s degrees and higher education are also being largely addressed. The field of possibilities in adolescence causes a certain dizziness. School years are decisive for gradual orientation. Added to the stress of exams for a bachelor’s degree is the anxiety of a post-baccalaureate orientation.
The third layer, media news (this refers to all information processed by the mainstream media), is widely represented in school newspapers. This news, organized by the media agenda and by what shocks or interests the public and political body, captivates school journalists.
This news is not related to the personal experience of young journalists, but is based on their media experience. What is seen and heard, in particular by the media offering audiovisual media, fully participates in their eyes in their overall life experience. In recent years, we have seen an increase in international news (US elections, migration crises, armed conflicts, terrorism), as well as coverage of climate issues and international meetings dedicated to protecting the planet.
Finally, the media itself, their work, the new risks and challenges associated with digital technologies (conspiracy theories, fake news, cyber-humiliation, hate speech and violent speech) occupy the editorial office.
The creation of media in schools contributes to the media education of young journalists for several reasons. Writing articles with the reader in mind, using graphic tools, budget management, a work diary, relationships with a typographer are all part of the know-how and interpersonal skills they acquire.
But above all, they say they are more sensitive to current events and their treatment in the mainstream media, want to be better informed, and ask themselves questions about the reliability of sources. In 2015, the Minister of Public Education believed that “there is no better media education than creating media on your own.” This is even more true today.
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