See other articles in this series:
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (1): understanding the fundamentals of media
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (2): the elements of a news story
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (3): learning to write news copy (part 1)
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (3): learning to write news copy (part 2)
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (4): learning to research and identify sources of information
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (5): learning to critique the media and spot ‘fake news’
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (6): tips and resources for fact checking
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (7): covering magazines and feature stories
Continuing on with our sequence on how to teach kids to start a newspaper, we’ll cover some production and publishing aspects of the industry. Once students have gone through the other lessons on starting a newspaper, they can begin putting it all together into a publishable format that looks just like a real newspaper!
Teaching kids print production with technological tools for design and layout may crossover into high school projects like the yearbook club or class. By teaching desktop publishing techniques, kids who may not be involved in the school newspaper or yearbook can still get exposed to the process.
When starting a student newspaper, design and layout training with desktop publishing can:
- Give students the chance to understand how speedily newspapers are be produced, which may explain the brevity of their coverage, and the time pressure journalists come under, in the real world of media.
- Build computer software skills that students can use in their future employment.
- Give students an eye for the perfection in graphic design skills, such as alignment, consistency, scale, typography and the impact that sizing elements on a page can have.
- Teach students how to follow conventional norms and ‘rules,’ and understand why these can save time in the workplace. For example, they can learn style guides, templates, font formatting and known efficiencies already used in the print media industry. Perhaps a discussion on cost effectiveness and print budgeting can also be explored with your class when taking on a project like this.
- Engage students in the creative process of layout and design in print media. For example, making decisions about photos and ads to place on a page, as well as other visual cues to help guide a reader according to the design intention.
Resources you’ll need for teaching kids desktop publishing or print media design
You will need access to school computers, and purchased software licenses to create a newspaper the ‘modern’ way. If these are not available, you could use the ‘cut and paste’ method (literally). And, yes, you could also go the fully digital route, by creating a classroom blog or newspaper website. However, since website publishing engages different learned skills, this would start us on another topic, for a future article!
Assuming you can access the computers and software, most likely, your class will be learning how to create a newspaper design and layout using Adobe InDesign. They can also use QuarkXpress, which was the older standard used in publishing.
For some parts of the process, you may need Photoshop, and a PDF creator, if not included in your existing page design software. If the students plan on creating a newspaper logo, Adobe Illustrator may also be required.
The Adobe Education Exchange website
Adobe has an entire website section dedicated to teaching tutorials on each of its products, including InDesign. Find the InDesign tutorials, and filter the age groups or lesson types here:
Here is a resource that lists all Adobe education programs:
https://edex.adobe.com/programs (some of these are meant for adults, while others are for students. Either way, you may find useful teaching resources on this page).
Your school may need to purchase syllabus lessons on the site (depending on contributor licenses), or register for an account.
Here are lessons or ideas to get you started when teaching kids how to start a newspaper:
- Learn Adobe InDesign CC – a course to learn InDesign for publishing, without prerequisite knowledge needed.
- Adobe InDesign Tutorial 1 (Creating a Article) – a ‘first approach’ lesson to help students get the hang of using InDesign for newspaper purposes. It also answers questions about InDesign’s purpose.
- Grid System in Graphic Design – an important lesson needed for any newspaper or magazine project!
- Publishing with InDesign – a lesson for publishing a newspaper into different formats.
- Inspired Magazine – an idea of a project to try at your school, where students run the ‘show’ of their magazine!
- Grade 4 and 5: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign – a great syllabus on the very basics of InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop designed for Grades 4 and 5.
And of course there are plenty more you could search for on the site!
As a teacher, you can also participate in discussions with other collaborators on lessons. For example, here is one teacher trying to get feedback on how to teach high school students about InDesign:
Other teaching resources around the web for teaching newspaper print production
Of course, the web is full of ideas and tutorials to help teachers when it comes to design and layout training for print publishing. We’ll list some we found here:
- Back to School Special: 30 Simple Adobe InDesign Tutorials
- An Introduction to Newspaper Design
- Desktop Publishing Projects for High School Students
Have fun while learning about desktop publishing for a student newspaper!
As you can see, the process of designing a layout for a newspaper can be a fun and creative project for kids. It certainly is one of the most visual aspects of teaching how to start a newspaper (apart from photojournalism, perhaps).
The above resources can get you started, and perhaps this can turn into a collaborative effort with a graphic design teacher in the school!