The Value of High School Journalism


Many non-Tyro members out there are probably thinking, “Why do so many students join Tyro? Who would want to write even more than all of the research/timed essays, Cornell note summaries, short response paragraphs, paraphrasing of larger works, or even ‘answer-numbers-one-through-five-using-textual-evidence’ assignments that many of us encounter every day in the classroom?”

Of course, writing in class is important, but joining a school newspaper provides students with extra skills that they perhaps would not have received if they had not had the opportunity to be exposed to journalistic writing. The article titled “High School Journalism Matters”, published by the Newspaper Association of America Foundation, states that “significantly fewer journalism students than non-journalism students said they were concerned about their ability to express their ideas in writing, their reading speed and their comprehension levels as they prepared to enter college.” Not only that, but the NAA then goes on to explain how high school journalists are known to have higher ACT Composite scores, a higher GPA, and even a higher college freshman GPA.

So then what makes the difference between writing in the classroom and writing an article for the Tyro? The answer is as simple as this: independence.

Reporters and editors in Tyro get to choose whatever they want to write about. This is most certainly not the same as writing a book report on a novel that students may not have even read, let alone wanted to read. Writing for the Tyro gives students the freedom to choose what they want to write about based on their personal preferences. If you are a student who attends a lot of sporting events and are interested in seeing what sports journalism is like, then signing up for a sports related topic could be your first icebreaker to journalistic writing. If you are always up to date on the latest films hitting the theaters, have strong opinions of school issues or politics, knowledgeable of all school events, or even have a special insight to a club that the Tyro has never shed any light on, then the school newspaper is the perfect place to start. As a student joins as a reporter and continues to write, they begin to gain an edge in their writing that sets them apart from students that are not affiliated with Tyro, which is where the benefits start pouring in.

Not only do Tyro reporters get to choose what they want to write about, but they get to choose how they want to present it. When choosing to write for a school newspaper, the students can own the topics about which they choose to write. They have the freedom to decide which stance to take on a topic or what lens to look through in order to make the article the most appealing, whether they decide to write as informative reporters or satirical, humorous opinion-providers. Making those creative decisions allows the students to strengthen their skills as writers, forcing them to pause and think about where they want the article to go and what the audience’s reaction will look like as they read it, or change organizational and structural aspects to make their articles flow just the way that they like them.

As students writing for a school newspaper discover more about their specific writing styles, expressing ideas and opinions clearly typically becomes second nature, as many students are able to use their Tyro articles as guidance for formulating their topics or opinions on standardized and AP testing. Natalie Hartwig (‘16), an Editor-in-Chief for the Tyro, experienced this first-hand, commenting that “Last year I had AP Lang first semester, so writing for the Tyro helped me keep up with my writings so I was better prepared for the AP exam. In general, I think learning the journalistic style of writing has made me a better writer.”

So if any non-Tyro member is still reading this, thinking “Joining Tyro still seems like it’s too much work and too challenging for me,” let me assure you, it is really not. Mrs. Evans is almost always available to any Tyro writer who is struggling with their article, and Tyro reporters are in control of how many articles they want to write. In general, writing for the Tyro never becomes stressful unless a reporter or editor has troubles with time management skills, and the benefits of learning the journalistic style of writing essentially outweigh any work that needs to be done in order to gain them. Therefore, if you decide that you want to take advantage of all of these benefits that are at your fingertips, pay attention for any announcements regarding the next Tyro meeting in December and see for yourself what Tyro has in store for you.