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A renewed confidence

Feb 25, 2014 10:45 am | Janice Huser

Last week, I was given the opportunity to speak to some Grade 4 and 5 students about journalism and answer some fun questions for the kids at Ashmont Elementary.

Itís funny how you donít realize the complexities of whatís involved in a specific process unless you have to explain that process (one that you possibly do every week, as in the case of putting together a weekly newspaper) to someone.

Speaking to the kids made me realize a few things. One, I might actually have a job that some people find interesting. The questions asked by the children were quite obvious to me, but even the teachers found some of the answers to be unexpected.

Secondly, the job of creating a newspaper really does involve a lot of people. Although many people only think about reporters, editors and publishers when they think about a newspaper, there are many other elements and people involved behind the scenes who are equally important. I guess I knew this point before speaking to the students last week, but saying it out loud really confirms it.

The third thing I realize was that although there seems to be an overwhelming amount of accessible information in the world because of the Internet, newspapers still play an important role. Even elementary aged children could explain the importance of local news stories, and admitted that when they see themselves or someone they know in the newspaper, they feel special.

The kids were quick to pick out their favourite sections of a newspaper. Many of the boys were obviously drawn to the sports section, and some thought the announcements were most interesting (human nature I suppose, since many people I personally know often flip to the back of the paper to view the announcements before they delve into the rest of the newspaper).

The kids really amazed me with how much they knew about the newspaper. Of course, Iím sure much of that credit goes to the teachers who are helping these students learn about news articles, but it was obvious that many of the kids were truly interested in learning about the newspaper.

After I left the school on Wednesday morning, I realized there were still many things I could have chatted about with the kids. For example, the importance of learning to differentiate between news that comes from credible media sources versus the ever-popular satire or fake news that exists online, which often goes viral on social media, with many people taking false stories as truth.

More than ever, it seems that readers have to be cautious, or at least aware and alert, when reading news online.

On Wednesday, I left Ashmont feeling a bit of a renewed confidence in my job. Despite the ever-advancing technologies out there, local news continues to be something people, and most importantly a younger generation, are still interested in.

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