The MSU Detroit High School Journalism program enriches the educational experiences of students in the city of Detroit. Our work brings high school students in Detroit together with professional journalists, Michigan State University faculty members and Michigan State journalism students to produce a newspaper and news website about the issues affecting students’ schools and their peers. The program is coordinated by the faculty of the School of Journalism at Michigan State University with the support of other media and community partners throughout Southeast Michigan.
MSU Detroit High School Journalism provides a unique learning experience for students in the city of Detroit. The program links students at participating Detroit high schools with one of the premier university journalism programs in the nation and connects them with professional journalist mentors in their community, nurturing students’ raw talent and exhibiting their work center-stage in print and digital environments for their school and community.
The program’s curriculum focuses on practical application of writing and visuals, development of strong research skills, real-world use of technology and encouragement of civic engagement. This includes knowing how to seek credible information and how to make positive change in a community. Students learn about social responsibility, the importance of education and how to produce news and information that is accurate, fair and responsible.
The Detroit High School Journalism Program was founded in 1985 by Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Arthur Jefferson along with Detroit Free Press President Jerome Tilis and Senior Managing Editor Neal Shine. They saw the program as a way to get students interested in the news, encourage them to do more reading, and spur a new generation of journalists and responsible citizens. As a result, three decades of Detroit students have become better writers and thinkers.
The program began with professional journalists mentoring student journalists as they published their school newspapers. An online edition was launched in 2008, giving student journalists the ability to report the news as it happens. Through the years the program achieved successful results and helped many talented young people learn what it takes for a team to work on deadline and publish four newspapers in a school year. In fall 2014, the Detroit Free Press passed administration of the program to the Michigan State University School of Journalism. From September 2015 to June 2020, Detroit-based Crain Communications Inc. was the program’s lead corporate sponsor.
For the 2019-2020 academic year, the MSU Detroit High School Journalism worked with journalism classes and clubs at 13 high schools in the city of Detroit. Each journalism class or club is paired with a professional journalist mentor. In addition, students and teachers receive support from the program’s full-time director, School of Journalism faculty and the MSU-based Michigan Interscholastic Press Association.