All journalists should be good writers and the best way to become a better writer is to be a better reader. Every journalism classroom should have six to ten decent magazines available for students (and the teacher) to read. Here’s a few that I suggest:
1. Wired – Almost all media is high tech today and Wired is on the ragged edge of tech. They do a great job of keeping you informed of the up and coming tech trends before they get here. They also have very cool design and well written stories and interviews.
2. CJR – Columbia Journalism Review. How can you call yourself a journalist if you don’t read CJR? They have a great piece in this month’s issue on the Military Times and another one about the British Press and how it is different from the American Press.
3. Print – A really great design magazine that is just full of ideas for all kinds of things like use of text and color.
4. Shutterbug – Picking a photography magazine is hard because you want one that does not show nudity. Shutterbug is more focused on the serious amateur photographer and their needs. There are reviews of new cameras and equipment, technique articles and web resources.
5. Entertainment Weekly – Just a great magazine about pop culture that has fun headlines, good layout and well written articles. Usually stays away from the more gossipy stuff.
6. MacLife (used to be MacAddict) – If you use computers, you should read a computer magazine. If you don’t use Macs (you should – joke) then get a decent PC magazine.
7. US News & World Report – It is getting really hard to find a respectable weekly news magazine since so many of them have been part of journalistic scandals lately. I used to take Newsweek until they fabricated a story. As a teacher, you really want the most reliable news magazine you can find.
8. C:JET – Communications: Journalism Education Today. Join JEA (www.jea.org) and you will get it for free! Great magazine, although it tends to focus mainly on print and photography.
9. In house publications: Taylor Talk, Josten’s Adviser & Staff, the UIL Leaguer (Texas), The Quill, etc. Whatever company you use to print your yearbook has a publication, your state journalism organization probably does too, so does Quill & Scroll. Read them, they have great ideas.
10. Finally, the local paper. If you teach newspaper or an introduction to journalism class, this is a must. But it is also useful for almost any journalism class you teach. My wife is an English teacher and she finished up the year with her freshmen with a 2-week mini lesson on newspapers. The kids liked it and thought it was an interesting change from literature and prepping for the TAKS test and the AP test.
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