The alarming outlook of high school journalism in Arizona

NEVN checks in on Arizona’s high school journalism programs, as young reporters struggle to find secondary school options

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Jeremy Beren

Hamilton High School is located in Chandler.

Note: Northeast Valley News is currently investigating the state of high school journalism in Arizona. If you know of — or are involved in — one of these programs, please contact us and tell us your story.

Last year, the New York Times reported that approximately 37,000 employees at news organizations around the United States had been fired, furloughed, or had their wages reduced. 

The coronavirus pandemic exacerbated this trend, but it was underway even before the virus took hold in the U.S.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts journalism jobs will decline nearly five percent by 2030, after already shrinking from nearly 66,000 news analysts, reporters, and journalists in 2000 to 52,000 in 2019.

Hiatuses and other setbacks have emerged in high school journalism programs, as fights for funding are commonplace and young reporters struggle to find the proper nurturing.”

The effects of a changing industry has trickled all the way down to local high schools. Hiatuses and other setbacks have emerged even at this level, as schools fight for funding and young reporters struggle to find the proper nurturing.

“Due to COVID last year, I only had seven students (in one of my classes), and none of them retook the class,” Hamilton High School instructor Michael Ingram told Northeast Valley News.

Ingram, a Multimedia, Film, and Journalism teacher at the Chandler high school, said getting face-to-face interviews has been a great challenge for his students. These restrictions have made it difficult to produce stories with a relevant campus impact.

“Some students are not allowed to be in any type of media, whether (it’s a) picture, (a) video, or (a) written interview,” Ingram said.

Hamilton’s program has gotten back on its feet, as Ingram’s budding journalists have been finding ways to make meaningful content on their student-run website, the Paw Print.

But other schools have not been as fortunate.

Raymond S. Kellis High School and Independence High School, both located in Glendale, do not presently have active student-run news websites. Independence High’s online news press, the Patriot Post, has been on hiatus since 2020.

When contacted by Northeast Valley News, a representative from Independence said that the current journalism adviser was unavailable for comment. NEVN also spoke with a representative from Raymond S. Kellis, who said “I don’t think it currently is” when asked if the school’s journalism program was still active.