73% Of NYC Public High Schools Don’t Have Student Newspapers, Says Study

December 7, 2022

Nearly 73 percent of public high schools in New York City don’t have student newspapers or websites –– nor access to student journalism programs.

According to a new study led by Baruch College professor Geanne Belton.

The research study, Haves and Have Nots: Newspaper Prevalence Among NYC Public High Schools, also revealed significant disparities in access to these programs by borough, socioeconomic status, and race. 

Funded by the Google News Initiative, the study is a survey of nearly every public high school in New York City –– representing a data set of 439 public high schools, excluding charter schools and certain alternative programs.  

“The lack of newspapers and journalism programs in NYC public high schools is troubling –– and a huge loss for students,” said Belton, an attorney and journalism professor in Baruch’s Weissman School of the Arts and Sciences. “Today, news literacy education is more important than ever and should be easily accessible to high school students.” 

Belton added, “A school newspaper program provides numerous benefits to students, ranging from leadership experience to developing critical skills such as writing, editing, and fact checking –– as well as a preview of a variety of potential career paths.” 

“The importance of local journalism, especially through access to high school journalism programs, is vital for elevating quality information among communities. In line with the Google News Initiative’s efforts to enable a thriving news ecosystem, we are proud to support this substantive research, ” said Ashley Edwards, U.S. Partnerships Manager at Google.

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Key Findings: Unequal Access
The survey was conducted between 2021-2022. Key findings include:  

  • Schools less likely to have student newspapers are those with:
    • High poverty rates
    • Higher percentages of Black and Hispanic students
    • Locations in the Bronx and Brooklyn
    • Lower four-year graduation rates
  • Schools more likely to have student newspapers are those with:
    • Low poverty rates
    • Higher percentages of white and Asian students
    • Higher four-year graduation rates
  • Among schools with poverty rates of 78 percent or higher, those with a student newspaper had higher four-year graduation rates.
  • While historical data is limited, there is evidence that the number of NYC public high schools with newspapers has declined over the last 15 years. A 2007-2009 survey, which didn’t capture data from as many NYC high schools, found that 50 percent of NYC high schools had newspapers.

For complete findings, read Haves and Have Nots: Newspaper Prevalence Among NYC Public High Schools.

Baruch College Helps High Schools Launch Newspapers

Baruch College’s NYC High School Journalism Program [“HSJP”] is an initiative to support high school journalism and news literacy education. 

The HSJP is part of Baruch College’s Department of Journalism and the Writing Professions.  This grant-funded program, directed by Professor Geanne Belton, in addition to its research, includes an annual NYC High School Journalism Conference, now in its 19th year, an annual NYC public high school journalism competition, and a new course for teachers designed and taught by Professor Belton to help high schools that don’t have newspapers to launch newspapers. 

The program’s goals are to encourage and support public high school student newspapers, student journalists, and newspaper teacher-advisors with educational and incentivizing programming and to promote journalism and news literacy education for high school students.

Baruch College’s HSJP has partnered with the Google News Initiative and, in addition to receiving funding from Google, also receives grant support from the Charles H. Revson Foundation and the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation.

Thanks to support from the Google News Initiative, Baruch’s HSJP was able to complete this study and offers its online “Launching a High School Newspaper” course to NYC public high school teachers free of charge.  Thanks to grant support from the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the HSJP provides $1,000 honoraria to NYC public high school teachers who, after taking the “Launching a High School Newspaper” course, successfully launch newspapers in schools that previously did not have newspapers.

In addition to working with high schools and high school newspaper advisors, the HSJP works in collaboration with Press Pass NYC, The Bell, many journalists and journalism educators, and extraordinary Baruch College student assistants.

RelatedLaunching a High School Newspaper for Teacher-Advisors

Baruch College

Bernard M. Baruch College of The City University of New York—renowned for its rich tradition of academic excellence, accessibility, and outcomes—is one of the country’s top-performing colleges for its role as an engine of opportunity for students from every corner of New York, the nation, and the world. Representing 155 countries and speaking more than 100 languages, Baruch’s student population is among the most diverse in the United States. As a vital nexus of aspiration and opportunity, the College empowers students to transform their futures, their professions, and their communities.

Weissman School of Arts and Sciences
The Weissman School of Arts and Sciences offers the atmosphere of a small liberal arts college and the resources of a major public university.

With a nationally recognized faculty over 200 full-time members strong, the school provides personalized, supportive attention to its 2,600 undergraduate majors and more than 350 graduate students in five master’s programs, which combine academic excellence with practical experience.

The school also delivers essential common core courses required of all of Baruch undergraduates to ensure they enter the workplace and the world with excellent communication, quantitative, and critical-thinking skills, along with civic, ethical, cross-cultural, and aesthetic awareness. baruch.cuny.edu/wsas

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