Maybe building amazing newsroom

I teach Web Journalism and Magazine Journalism at Palo Alto High School, which has one of the largest (and most decorated) scholastic journalism programs in the country. We have about 200 advanced students operating in five different staffs (newspaper, broadcast, newsmag, sportsmag and Web) and another 100 or so a year in beginning journalism, 120 in photography and another 120 in video production.

Since the campus is expanding anyway and constructing a few two-story buildings, we (the other journalism teachers and me) thought we might pool our interests and see if we can put together a state-of-the-art media center/possibly conference center with a converged newsroom at its core. I’m on the hunt for ideas (and, who knows, perhaps professional programs to share the space with us) for how to create a truly cool and useful facility for a staff that in some ways would be bigger than that of the Mercury News.

We have at least the possibility of raising additional funds from donors to move this facility up from just another publicly financed building — which likely would be rather spare — into a landmark of sorts, possibly a small conference center focused on new media.

We’re also interested in exploring the possibility of bringing in outside pros in the same way as that high school in San Francisco plays host to KALW 91.7. Who would it be? New media start-up lab? What would the arrangements be? Hard to say, but it would be cool to have students have new media pros working around them.

You might be interested in visiting my students’ Webby Award-winning Web site at http://voice.paly.net to get an idea of what we do.

Architects are determining now what the footprint of the buildings will be. Come January and February we’ll likely be deciding what goes in those buildings. Got ideas?

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2 Responses

  1. Paul:This is very exciting. I’d love to come by and see the location and maybe set up a brainstorming session with the staff. I wonder if there are other folks here who’d be interested in attending such a session?

  2. I’d love to attend such a session. Here at UT-Austin, we’re in the process of completing the first major renovation of our building in its 35-year history. In addition, we’re considering outsourcing printing. We’re one of only four college newspapers with its own press, and after 35 years we feel it might be more economical to print elsewhere. As a result, I may have space to plan!

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