Our board serves as a case in point. Our members represent a broad range of communication professions: publishers, editors, general managers, corporate vice presidents, managing partners, directors of public affairs, program officers and public information officers. We work in newspapers large and small, TV, radio, government, corporate America and ad agencies.
Many of us trained as journalists. And we all view ethics-based, high-quality journalism as vital to our community, state, nation and world. Is journalism a profession in transition? Yes.
As are manufacturing, education, finance, agriculture, healthcare, retail and almost anything else you can think of. New technologies allow us to reinvent ourselves while global pressures demand we do so. Core skills demanded by our current information age include research, synthesis, writing and message production.
Good reporters don’t do our thinking, but they prod us to think. They unearth the unknown. Shine light into dark corners. The Fourth Estate arms us with information critical for a wise electorate, savvy business dealings and sound investing. A strong and vibrant press was deemed so essential by our Founding Fathers they gave it special protections under the U.S. Constitution. In a world that bombards us with messages every waking moment of our day, we seek out trusted journalistic sources.
To the State Department of Education we say, restore this critical funding to our high schools, encouraging our youngest journalists. Now.
Tammy Allen,VP Marketing & Communications, Allen Gibbs & Houlik; Susan Armstrong, President/CEO ArmstrongIShank Advertising; Joan Barrett, President/GM KWCH-TV/KSCW-TV; Jarrod Bartlett, Director of Communication, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems; Tom Bertels, Managing Partner, Sullivan Higdon Sink; Tami Bradley, Managing Partner, Bothner & Bradley; Al Buch, Retired, GM KSNW-TV; Sherry Chisenhall, VP News, The Wichita Eagle; Kent Cornish, Executive Director, Kansas Association of Broadcasters; Tom Glade, GM/VP for Marketing, Clear Channel Radio Group; Bonita Gooch, Editor-in-Chief, Community Voice; Deanna Harms, Senior VP, Greteman Group; Nancy Martin, COO Emergency Services, HCA Wesley; Eric McCart, GM, Journal Broadcast Group; Mark McCormick, Director of Communications, Kansas Leadership Center; Chris Power, VP Communication, Kansas Health Foundation; Steve Randa, Managing Partner, Jajo; Bill Roy, Editor, Wichita Business Journal; Dave Seaton, Editor and Publisher, Winfield Daily Courier; Lynn Stephan, Retired, Stephan Advertising Agency; Dan Wall, GM, KAKE-TV; Van Williams, Spokesman, City of Wichita; Jackie Wise, VP/GM, Entercom Radio; Carter Zerbe, Retired, Publisher, Augusta Daily Gazette
A change in the way the state funds high school career training is putting journalism classes in jeopardy.
Kansas is transitioning to a more focused plan - giving money to only those courses that best prepare kids for jobs in today's business world.
Inside East High School, in a small room in the corner of the building, history is recorded and, for some, futures are written out.
"Sophomore year I had my goals set, I was like I'm gonna be a journalist when I get older. I want to write and design," said Tyler Malter.
He's the editor of East's yearbook, one of the classes that could get eliminated if the state goes through with cuts to journalism funding.
"I feel like everyone should have an equal opportunity to try something like this and see if they like it."
Sharon Martin isn't just Tyler's instructor, she's also the journalism teacher district coordinator.
"I am concerned because a number of my students go to journalism programs throughout the country and they may leave our schools with no journalism courses on their transcript. That's a huge concern for me."
It also affects what she will be teaching in a few years since the state's current funding pays for her salary.
"The school will have to either pick up those programs, change those programs in some fashion or eliminate the programs all together."
A final decision hasn't been made yet by the state, leaving students like Tyler wondering if future classes will have the same experience he did, and Sharon wondering if she'll get to teach them.
"We don't know what will happen when the school year starts in a couple years."