Newspapers often offer tours to classes and other groups who want to learn more about the newspaper. Tours may be limited in the size and number that can be offered, and children younger than nine or ten may not be allowed to tour the facility for safety reasons.
To find out about tours at your local newspapers, contact the newspaper and ask for the person in charge of organizing tours. If you are a Newspaper in Education (NIE) teacher, contact the person who manages the NIE program or make sure the person who gives tours knows that you use newspapers for instruction. When scheduling a tour, ask whether your newspaper operates a printing press that students will be able to view in operation.
Before going on tour, discuss the different jobs required to put together a newspaper. Emphasize that the jobs vary according to the size of the newspapers and the formats that newspapers use for publishing their content. Newspapers that convert print editions to searchable pdfs (e-editions or ePapers), provide websites that are updated throughout the day and/or produce other versions of newspapers for tablets and/or other mobile devices will employ more people and/or involve technologies that support their creating digital editions.
Ask someone at your newspaper to describe jobs at the newspaper and identify individuals who hold the positions. For names, check bylines on stories and mastheads on editorial pages. Your newspaper may provide additional information about jobs in writing, either on request or on its website.
Have students or others who tour review the newspaper’s print and digital editions and compare reading print and online editions to deepen understanding of issues related to local and state news and information.
The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, West Virginia outlines departments and describes the steps and jobs involved in writing, editing and organizing content for a print newspaper: http://media.herald-dispatch.com/nie/
View and/or show the virtual tours available online and listed below, ahead of touring a local newspaper facility. Other tours and/or explanatory information may be available online.
Other information about newspapers and printing:
Free Lance Star, Fredericksburg, Virginia (how to book tours; how to produce newspapers)
How Newspapers Work (printing and production)
How Things Work: How Newspapers Are Made (broadcast in Kenya)
While touring your area newspaper, have students and/or others take notes and ask questions, particularly about different editions that newspapers produce.
After the tour, have students and/or others review what they learned and conduct research to answer any questions they still have.
Compare what you learn about today’s newspapers with what you learn about old school journalism “back in the day” from this video.
Another story about newspapers “back in the day” was written by Roy Parker, drawn from writing by Thomas Wolfe; you’ll find that linked here.
Conduct research to find out more about older forms of printing, such as linotype, and about sections in newspapers and roles that reporters played. Explain how modern approaches affect the way that news and information are reported.
Prepared April 1, 2014