Adam Winkler makes at least one quick stop each morning before beginning his teaching day at Glynn Academy.
Winkler, an English and Language Arts teacher, picks up a stack of copies of The Brunswick News at the newspaper’s Brunswick office every morning. He later distributes the papers to students in his journalism class, which is part of a new expanded pathway opportunity at Glynn Academy.
“It’s a really good elective to allow kids who want to write to write whatever they want and learn the fundamentals of journalism,” he said.
Winkler is one of many teachers in Glynn County who has signed up this year for the publication’s Newspapers in Education (NIE) program, through which teachers receive delivery of the newspaper twice a week at their school to use for educational purposes in the classroom.
Buff Leavy, president of The Brunswick News Publishing Co., said he’s thankful to the new teachers and long-standing teachers who are using newspapers in the classroom as a valuable instructional tool.
“There are so many hands-on ways newspapers are used for instruction covering many different school subjects,” Leavy said. “Right now, exposing students to a local newspaper where local journalists daily gather information about their community — covering public safety, education, county and city government and so, so much more — has incredible value.”
Local journalism is critical in today’s world of fast information and national and international stories that are of great importance to readers in the Golden Isles, Leavy said.
“We have seen a significant spike in our online subscriptions in the last six months,” Leavy said. “That has been a trend as well nationally with many other community newspapers. This speaks to the fact that the general public wants credible information more now than ever and is turning to community newspapers, one of the oldest forms of media, for valuable information.”
Winkler, who has signed up for the NIE program for several years now, asked this year if he could receive copies of the newspaper daily. He said The Brunswick News is an effective tool for teaching a class focused on journalistic writing, reporting, photography and the communications profession.
The pathway aims to prepare students for professional careers in newspapers, magazines, television, radio, news agencies and public information services.
“Occupations can be found in a variety of settings, including business education and the nonprofit sectors of the market,” according to the pathway description. “The field is sometimes referred to as the ‘communications industry.’ In today’s market, the ability to communicate not only involves speaking, writing and reading but also requires that the journalists understand and utilize multimedia technology required to distribute stories across digital delivery platforms.”
The class offers students a chance to write about what interests them. Winkler plans for the students to create a class newspaper later this semester.
“Verbal and written communication skills are sought after nowadays, and this is kind of a fun way to get kids writing,” he said.
Winkler and his students read through the newspaper daily, and he’s able to find real-world examples of the topics covered by the course.
Recently, the students read a long article printed on the front of The Brunswick News and written by reporter Larry Hobbs that marked the one-year anniversary of the Golden Ray tipping over in the St. Simons Sound.
Winkler and his students discussed the story’s first sentences, called the lede, and the use of quotes throughout the piece.
“I don’t have any journalism experience so I’m kind of learning as I go with the kids, and that makes it fun,” Winkler said.
The students also will have the chance to write and edit their own stories, which can be about a variety of topics, Winkler said.
“Some kids are like, ‘I want to write about the importance of eating breakfast,’ and then some say, ‘I want to write about the Black Lives Matter movement,’ and some want to write about sports,” he said.
The NIE program offers teachers a useful tool to support all kinds of class subjects. Teachers can find ways to use the newspaper’s contents to teach math and writing, create art projects and spark conversations about local events and news.
Jessica Parker, a staff member at Brunswick Christian Academy, recently contacted The Brunswick News office and asked to sign the school’s middle school history teacher up for the NIE program, which she said will be used to facilitate discussions about current events.
“He’ll let the kids pick an article, and he tells them to summarize it in their own words,” Parker said. “And then they have an open discussion, and he lets the kids discuss what they learned through that article.”
Winkler said the newspaper will often include something that can catch a student’s interest.
“It’s an accessible way, if you have a lot of reluctant readers, to get somebody interested in something,” he said. “And it’s just so crucial to get the kids opportunities to read what they want to read. The sports section is always a big player for some of the young men, and even the blotter, a lot of kids really like the language.”
NIE registration is open now and free for teachers. Those interested in receiving copies of the newspaper each week are asked to call 912-265-8320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We sincerely appreciate our long standing Newspapers in Education partners who are such a major part of allowing for these newspapers to reach over thousands of students twice a week throughout our entire school year,” Leavy said.