Google and Baruch College Partner to Bring Journalism to Underserved NYC High SchoolsCollege faculty, staff, and students support comprehensive program with aim to launch at least 25 school newspapers in two years
February 16, 2022
The Google News Initiative is partnering with Baruch College’s Department of Journalism and the Writing Professions to fund the department’s flagship high school outreach program, which brings journalism education, school newspapers, and news literacy to underserved New York City schools.
The program aims to help launch at least 25 school newspapers by the end of 2023 and will offer Google tools training for student journalists and their advisers.
“School newspapers are oftentimes the first exposure many teens have to journalism,” said Ashley Edwards, US Partnerships Manager in the Google News Lab. “We’re excited to be partnering with Baruch on this important initiative, which will give more students access to hands-on experience in news, as well as give educators an opportunity to instill media literacy skills.”
Baruch’s High School Journalism Program is run by Professor Geanne Belton at the College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences. Baruch faculty, students and staff frequently provide support, along with Press Pass NYC, a new nonprofit headed by Lara Rice Bergen.
“CUNY in general and Baruch in particular have a very strong mission to help strengthen New York City, to be a resource for New York City, and in particular to create opportunities for young people in New York City,” Belton said. “This kind of outreach can really have a positive impact.”
“We thank Google for this generous grant and for recognizing the importance of developing journalism programs in our city’s public high schools,” said Associate Professor Vera Haller, chair of Baruch’s Department of Journalism and the Writing Professions. “We also are grateful for all the work that our colleague, Professor Geanne Belton, does to support and expand this worthy project.”
Two Decades of Research and Practice
Baruch’s High School Journalism Program, launched 19 years ago, has grown to include an annual conference with workshops and trainings by professional journalists, a course to aid high school teachers interested in starting school newspaper programs, and a “Newsies” contest with awards for outstanding high school journalism.
Faculty and students in the department also see the program as a vehicle for important research, including an ongoing study supported by Google on how many New York City public high schools had active student papers. The results of that research helped inform the program.
High School to College Pipeline
The program has served as a high school-to-college pipeline, with some participating high school students later enrolling at Baruch and taking on leadership roles in campus publications like Baruch’s student-run newspaper, The Ticker.
“Without the high school journalism program, I likely would have never considered Baruch College, where I’m now studying journalism and am the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Ticker,” said Amanda Salazar (’22). “The program showed me that this is a college that takes journalism seriously and that can help me become a professional journalist.”
One important aim of the program is teaching news literacy, an increasingly important skill. “Having a journalism program in a high school helps students learn how facts are gathered along with learning the difference between facts and opinion,” Belton said. The program also teaches students other fundamental aspects of the news business like how to find trustworthy sources and publishers’ rights and responsibilities.
Belton is grateful for the support from Google, which will allow her to expand and improve the program. “It’s really great that this program is getting this kind of recognition,” Belton added. “It just helps us to have more impact.”