Hey, NINA Members! This February, Get Out Of The Newsroom And Into The Classroom!

By KATHY BALCAZAR – kbalcazar@shawmedia.com

Newsroom employees will be making some meaningful visits to classrooms throughout Northern Illinois in February — and we’re asking you to take part.

We’re dubbing the second stanza of 2018 “Journalist Drop-In Month.”

Kathy Balcazar head shotDuring that month, NINA is asking news editors, desk editors, photographers and reporters to drop by classrooms to speak with students about the newspaper industry.

For a few years now, the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association has been deploying editors, reporters and other newsroom staffers to speak to students and answer their questions about newspapers, being in the business and how to get started as a journalist.

It’s a great way for those interested in the field to get some first-hand information about it.

I’ve had the chance to speak with many students who are interested in journalism over the years, including middle school, high school and college students. And I think I’ve participated in NINA’s February effort every year it has taken place so far.

The students I’ve spoken with often have so much enthusiasm, and they ask fantastic questions. In February 2016, I spoke to students with the Elgin Community College Observer newspaper, and last February I spoke with journalism students at St. Charles North High School. I’ve also spoken at Kaneland High School.

As part of my February presentation, I usually promote NINA’s high school scholarship. The scholarship goes to a high school senior who demonstrates the standards of honesty, integrity, attention to detail, hard work, creativity, and an understanding and commitment to quality community journalism.

Are you a journalism educator — or student — who would like to have a professional journalist speak to your classroom in February?

If so, please shoot me an email or call using the contact information below, and we will try to set something up.

And to other professional journalists out there, please consider reaching out to a classroom during the month of February. You never know. You might just change a student’s life!

  • FEATURE PHOTO CAPTION: Kathy Balcazar, weekly group editor for the Kane County Chronicle, Elburn Herald, Sugar Grove Herald and Suburban Life Media, speaks to Kaneland High School students in February 2014. Journalists from northern Illinois will speak to students again this February, a month the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association is calling Journalist Drop-In Month.
Kathy Balcazar is weekly group editor for the Kane County Chronicle, Elburn Herald, Sugar Grove Herald and Suburban Life Media, and is a member of the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association Board. Contact her at kbalcazar@shawmedia.com or 630-845-5368. Learn more about NINA at ninaonline.org.