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Journalism Professors Take Lessons to High School Students in Tokyo

Posted Jan. 10, 2011

Recently Candace Bowen, the director of the Center for Scholastic Journalism and assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Mark Goodman, a professor and Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism, journeyed to Tokyo, Japan, for the Far East Journalism Conference to help teach the importance of sound journalism to students overseas.

A view of Tokyo from the conference.

The Far East Journalism Conference is an annual effort to help enhance and supplement the education of American students in countries like Japan, Guam and Korea. This year the conference was held in Tokyo, Japan, at the U.S. Naval Hotel in late October.

Bowen and Goodman instructed sessions to more than 100 high-school-aged students enrolled in schools run by the U.S. Department of Defense Education Agency, meaning that these are the children of military personnel. Because these students have less access to resources as compared to students in America, the schools on military bases are often structured differently than school systems in the United States. The conference, then, helped to lessen the gap between the two educational systems.

The conference brought together seven news-gatherers, including photojournalists, photographers and journalists. "The sessions we taught were much like the sessions we teach here," Bowen says.

She taught a feature writing session, a multimedia session, and a basic layout and design session, while Goodman conducted sessions on copyright laws, libel, the First Amendment, ethical decision-making, and building relationships with school administrators. They also judged school newspapers and yearbooks the students brought to the conference, and provided the students with comments and suggestions for improving their work.

Goodman says that many of the students don't have access to the same amount of expert resources that students stateside do, and were thus "very receptive because they have so few opportunities." Despite not having the same opportunities, the students and their teachers greatly impressed both Bowen and Goodman, who both agreed that the best work of these students would rival the best work of journalism students living in the United States.

Both Bowen and Goodman are confident in the future success and growth of these students, and hope to return for next year's conference.

Goodman concludes by saying: "I believe this is a great way for Kent State University and our Center for Scholastic journalism to support both the next generation of journalists, and the families of men and women serving our country overseas."

By Erin Dwinnells