Mark Goodman, Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism
Mark Goodman has been supporting high school journalism in America through his role as the Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism at Kent State since 2008.
Goodman joined the faculty of Kent State's School of Media and Journalism as the school's first Knight Chair after serving 22 years as executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C. He is an expert in media law, the role of high school student journalism in preparing journalists and citizens, the practice of press freedom in American schools and freedom of information issues involving schools and colleges.
Endowed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism is one of 25 endowed Knight Chairs in journalism in the country. The Scholastic Journalism chair is focused on the role high school journalism plays in preparing professional journalists for careers in the field and in preparing citizens in a democracy. Goodman, who is an expert in media law and the practice of press freedom in American schools, has concentrated on supporting and building up of the role of high school journalism.
For high school students, the Center for Scholastic Journalism at Kent State has been the presenting sponsor the Courage in Student Journalism Awards, which are co-sponsored by the Student Press Law Center and the National Scholastic Press Association. These awards go to high school student journalists and student media advisers or school administrators who have shown outstanding support for student press freedom and who stand up against censorship and defended the rights of students to speak and publish freely.
In terms of academics, the School of Media and Journalism offers a master's degree in scholastic journalism, providing education for high school teachers who want to get training in the substance of journalism and, more importantly, the teaching of journalism. Additionally, Kent State has hosted workshops for high school journalism teachers. For 15 years, it was host to the American Society of News Editors Workshop for school journalism teachers. Last summer, it offered an all-expense paid summer workshop for high school journalism teachers from across the country. This first of its kind one-week summer workshop trained high school journalism teachers on a range of topics from technology to basic reporting skills to help them push their programs and their students to the next level.
“This chair is the Knight Foundation saying it believes in the importance of scholastic journalism,” Goodman said. “The activities and the programming that we engage in, the endowment produces the funding for that, and I think a lot of people don’t realize this.”
One of the most popular electives in master’s programs at Kent State is Media and Journalism’s news literacy course, which prepares teachers to help students assess the accuracy of information and determine reliable sources.
“That class is intended primarily for high school journalism teachers, but we have people from all different disciplines taking the course because it’s really important to help students better understand which sources of news and information are legitimate and which ones are not.”
Goodman remains optimistic about the future of journalism despite some troubling trends in newsroom job losses.
“Our world, our society, is hungrier for news and information than it’s ever been,” Goodman said. “People have to provide that. It doesn’t just magically appear. High school students who engage in scholastic journalism are preparing themselves very strongly for the future. Sports and entertainment may have gone away for a time because of coronavirus, but they’re not gone permanently, and somebody is going to be expected to cover those activities. Whether it’s for a non-profit advocacy group or government agencies or political offices or community-based news organizations, there are more jobs in the entire business of mass communication than there probably have ever been. There may be fewer jobs at traditional newspapers, but I think this is totally a growth industry in non-traditional fields.”
“And I really want to commend Kent State,” Goodman continued. “It’s one of only a handful of universities in the country, really in the world, that has made a commitment to scholastic journalism. It’s a long-term commitment to a really important activity. I feel very lucky to be here.”