Still strong in Huntley, Johnsburg, but school journalism programs are dwindling – Northwest Herald

“Ninety-five percent of the kids in this program do not pursue journalism as career,” he said. “But that’s not the point – it’s the other skills you can pick up, like writing, layout, collaboration and leadership.”

Despite some local schools losing tangible newspapers, a 2011 survey conducted by the Center for Scholastic Journalism at Kent State University in Ohio found a majority 64 percent of schools surveyed do still have newspapers.

However, the study was the first of its kind and, therefore, does not provide perspective on whether the percentage is higher, lower or in line with years prior.

For Hester at Cary-Grove, his ideal version of the program would revert back to a print edition.

“But you’ve got to meet the kids where they’re at, and they’re digital,” he said, adding that doesn’t mean necessarily mean the foundation of journalism isn’t there. “The element of asking good questions, telling good stories – that’s still there. They’re still responding to that in a powerful way, so if you’re a traditionalist like me, that’s something to hang your hat on.”

And while the future of journalism as a profession doesn’t appear promising – employment of reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts is projected to decline 13 percent by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – proof of that response is still evident in some McHenry County students, albeit, apparently not an overwhelming number.

Eighteen-year-old Abbey Nimrick said enrolling in Johnsburg High School’s Intro to Journalism course is one of the best decisions she has ever made.

“It’s because of that I know what I want to do,” said Nimrick, the sports editor of the Johnsburg Weekly News. “Next year, I want to be at St. Ambrose majoring in journalism … I think I’d like to be writing for a newspaper some day.”


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