By: Sarah Squires
The first time I did a newspaper office tour, I was teaching a class at Winona State’s College For Kids. Those students were enrolled in my class specifically because they were interested in journalism, and they were a bit older, so it wasn’t hard to keep their attention as we traveled around, chatting about what each department does and then headed to the gigantic basement to watch the printing press fire up and spin out 24,000 newspapers. A few years later, I hosted another tour, younger students who weren’t particularly interested in the newspaper business. The best I could do was engage the handful of kids who were interested in comic books and comics. One, I was impressed, told me afterward that he wanted to become a journalist when he grew up, because soda in our pop machines was only 50 cents. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was actually 75.
But by now, I’ve got the whole office tour down pretty well, whether the students are in third grade or ninth, and whether they are here by choice or being dragged along for a required class. We’ve got the timing down for heading to the press just as the full color Midtown Foods ad goes whirling through — first the red, then the yellow, then all of a sudden, it’s the grocery store ad spinning through the machine. We visit with the different departments, snap a professional photo of our crew, then we learn how the photo is processed and placed onto the page. And then the students help me write the cutline — the caption, in newspaper terms — ensuring everyone’s names are spelled correctly.
On Tuesday, I was lucky to have a visit from seventh and eighth grade language arts students from St. Martin’s Lutheran School, who were smart, funny, curious, and a delight to host. It reminded me of how much I enjoy showing young people what a neat career journalism can be. I once asked a classroom full of kids if they knew an adult who didn’t like their job, and nearly every one of them raised their hands. “Stay in school, go to college or trade school and study something you like, and then you will be able to do something you love as a career,” I told them.
How fortunate I am to do something I love, and how fun it is to be able to share that! If you would like a tour of the Winona Post, please let me know. I’d be glad to share the Winona Post family with your group.