A photo of Brett Favre was being projected onto a screen in front of a classroom, which was overflowing with high school students. Chris Ison, a faculty member of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was leading a discussion on journalism ethics.
If a high-profile personality like Favre is being accused of questionable off-the-field activities, is there a threshold for media reporting? Does the public have a right to know? Who might be harmed by the reporting? How does a reporter know what’s true and what’s not? These were the types of questions Ison, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former colleague of mine at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, asked the students.
The session was part of the Minnesota High School Press Association’s annual convention, held Tuesday at the U of M’s Coffman Memorial Union. Approximately 550 students attended the convention, which featured sessions on topics ranging from interviewing to photos to diversity to online trends to story ideas to graphics and beyond. The day’s keynote speaker was WCCO-TV reporter/anchor Liz Collin, a native of Worthington, and the event was capped with an awards ceremony.
As someone who has been involved in journalism since I was a high school student, it was heartening to see so many students so enthused about this profession. And I was honored to meet many high school faculty members who advise their school’s yearbook, newspaper, magazine, broadcast and online staffs. These are talented, committed people.
When people ask me how I became interested in journalism, I tell them about Mrs. White. She was my high school English teacher and someone I admired very much. When I was in 10th grade, she said to me, “John, you’re on the football team and you like to write. Would you like to write the stories about the football games?” These stories appeared in the weekly newspaper in my little hometown on the prairie. I gave it a try, liked it a lot and here I am decades later, having written about everything from professional sports to youth sports and now working for the MSHSL.
In the spirit of educating and inspiring young journalists, we are proud to announce the official roll-out of our new MSHSL Student Sports Information Directors program. I have written about it previously here on John’s Journal, and now it has a place on our main web page (in case you missed it when you clicked on this page, look to the lower right corner, below the Facebook and Twitter links).
The Student SID program has been on my radar since the day I joined the MSHSL staff in March. All of us who have been fortunate enough to have mentors help us on our paths -- thank you, Mrs. White – feel a responsibility to do the same for others.
A few schools are ahead of the curve, thanks in part to having representatives on the MSHSL Board of Directors. Ada-Borup superintendent/principal Mike Kolness and Underwood principal John Hamann have been on the ground floor of the Student SID project, and their school’s students are doing a great job. You can see their work by clicking on the “Schools” link near the top left of this page and then clicking on Ada-Borup and Underwood.
More than 160 schools have received media credentials for use by their Student SIDs, and we expect them to dive right into the reporting and writing process. I have corresponded with administrators, teachers and students from many schools around Minnesota, and the excitement level is exceptional. We believe this program will provide opportunities for students to become involved in their schools, explore the world of journalism and improve their communication skills.
It’s a win-win-win.
Feel free to contact me with questions and comments about the Student SID program. My email address is at the top of this post.
BY THE NUMBERS *Schools/teams John has visited: 60 *Miles John has driven: 3,919
--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn
Park Rapids' Schumacher On The Comeback Trail10/12/2010
John Schumacher, the activities director at Park Rapids High School and a member of the MSHSL Board of Directors, has undergone surgery for tonsil cancer and will soon begin radiation treatments.
The prognosis is positive, befitting John's larger-than-life personality. Here is a fine article about John, courtesy of Vance Carlson of the Park Rapids Enterprise ...
Park Rapids high school sporting events just weren’t the same for most of August and September.
It wasn’t tough to miss the reason why.
John Schumacher’s presence was missed at several athletic events at the beginning of the fall season. Since becoming the Panthers’ activities director, Schumacher has been a noticed fixture at every home event.
That changed this fall when Schumacher was diagnosed with cancer on his right tonsil. Fortunately, the prognosis for Schumacher to return to the sidelines is promising.
Last winter, Schumacher noticed a lump on the right side of his throat, but thought it was just an inflammation due to a cold.
The lump didn’t go away and on Aug. 5 Schumacher went in for an exam. Surgery was performed on Aug. 13 to remove a lymph node. Tests revealed Schumacher had squamous cell carcinoma cancer in his right tonsil.
Surgery was scheduled for Sept. 16 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester to remove the tonsil and find the source of the cancer. During the five-hour surgery, 79 lymph nodes and the tonsil were removed. The tonsil proved to be the source of the cancer. The doctors called the surgery a success.
“The doctors said the cancer was very treatable and the success rate was very, very, very good,” said Schumacher. “The tonsil and lymph nodes were intact, which was great news. If they had burst open, it would have attacked my lungs. The cancer was confined to that area and the doctors feel they got it all.”
Schumacher was discharged from Mayo on Sept. 19 and has been recovering ever since. He had been working a little every day before starting back full time this past week. Once again, Schumacher has been a fixture at all home sporting events.
“The toughest thing has been that I can’t move at the speed I want,” said Schumacher, who has lost more than 20 pounds since the surgery. “I’m getting better every day. Last Thursday was the first time that I felt that I was back.”
Recovery will continue with radiation treatments five days a week for six weeks beginning Oct. 18. The doctors are confident that Schumacher will make a full recovery.
“Without the radiation treatment, there’s a 90 percent chance the cancer will come back. With the radiation, there’s only a 4 percent chance it will come back,” said Schumacher. “The administrative team, the coaches, the kids and the community have been so supportive. It means a lot that people took the time to send cards and e-mails and said they were praying for me. It was very special seeing how many people care for you. The outlook is great. We have a game plan and we’re going to attack it. When I was coaching, I always told the kids that you play the cards you’re dealt and you go after it and get the win. That’s what I’m going to do.”
MSBN Will Broadcast Adapted Soccer on Tuesday10/11/2010
If you haven't had a chance to watch adapted soccer, here's your chance ... and you don't even have to leave your computer.
A game Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. between the Dakota United and South Suburban teams in the PI (physically impaired) division will be broadcast live on the internet (and for free) at mnsportsnetwork.com (MSBN).
Having this game on MSBN is a great opportunity to increase awareness about adapted sports. The game will also be archived on mnsportsnetwork.com for later views.
Esko QB Has A Hand In 52 Points10/11/2010
Esko junior quarterback Max Reinertsen had a game to remember Friday night, running for seven touchdowns, throwing for one and scoring a pair of two-point conversions. Do the math, and he had a hand in 52 points as the Eskomos defeated Deer River 63-49 in a Great Polar Alliance White game in Deer River.
Esko (4-2) scored 28 fourth-quarter points to rally for the victory. Reinertsen scored his final touchdown on a 53-yard run with 1:04 remaining.
Deer River (3-3) junior Damon Benham had a pretty memorable night, too, rushing 22 times for 196 yards, five touchdowns and a two-point conversion
This Week's Volleyball Rankings10/11/2010
CLASS 3A 1. Lakeville North (10) 164 2. Wayzata (1) 155 3. Bloomington Jefferson 130 4. Eastview 119 5. Apple Valley 117 6. Lakeville South 100 7. Blaine 82 8. Shakopee 78 9. Centennial 77 10. Eden Prairie 70 Others: Waconia (60), Stillwater (18), Cretin-Durham Hall (6), Woodbury (6), Hopkins (5), MN Southwest (4), Owatonna (2), Hill-Murray (1)
CLASS 2A 1. Jackson County Central (7) 133 2. Wadena-Deer Creek (2) 125 3. Hutchinson 115 4. Lesuer-Henderson 106 5. Jordan 89 6. Belle Plaine 85 7. Marshall 76 8. Stewartville 70 9. Rocori 57 10. Delano 26 Others: Kasson-Mantorville (24), Visitation (18), Sauk Center (14), Byron (13), Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (11), Mora (9), Esko (3), Caledonia (1)
CLASS 1A 1. Minneota (8) 214 2. Bethlehem Academy (7) 213 3. Wabasha-Kellogg 191 4. Martin County West 153 5. Nevis 151 6. Mayer Lutheran 128 7. BBE 118 8. Windom 111 9. Canby 89 10. Mabel-Canton 82 Others: Win-E-Mac (67), Hancock (16), Ada-Borup (11), Deer River (8), Heritage Christian Academy (8), Bertha-Hewitt (6), Lake of the Woods (6), Sebeka (6), Cherry (1)