Articles Published in InPrint,
the NJPA Newspaper
and Classroom Instruction
Key to Success:
Personal Involvement With Schools
Writing and Classroom Instruction
BY CYNTHIA FORSTER
Manager, Education Services, The Record
(Bergen County, N.J.)
Enter any school in New Jersey, mention
Newspapers in Education, and teachers should know
what you are talking about.
They may not personally receive
newspapers, but they know teachers who do.
If your area teachers look at you with a
questioning stare, your newspaper isnıt there
yet. It may be time to take a long look at your
missed revenue and community service
It may also be time to send a
representative to one of the meetings of the NJNF
Statewide NIE Committee.
In the past 10 years, NIE programs have
made great strides, increasing educational
circulation and increasing students' knowledge of
what a newspaper has to offer, whether on a
weekly or a daily basis.
NIE is on the front line of creating adult
readers, and the task is not easy.
In the United States, one out of every
four adults functions at the lowest literacy
level. Four out of 10 American children have
trouble learning to read. And in New Jersey
alone, more than 17.6 percent of the population
is now foreign born and learning English as a
Newspapers provide a motivational resource
for all age levels - from kindergarten through
adult learning, and for all student
populationsıfrom standard classroom settings to
Newspapers also mean better test scores.
As one educator mentioned when writing for
the Chronicle of Higher Education: "The
words that turn up on the SAT are not obscure or
archaic. They are words that routinely appear in
metropolitan dailies, weekly news magazines, or
any serious nonfiction book."
A recently released Educational Testing
Service study recommended that teaching materials
for adult literacy look and read like normal
adult reading materials, such as newspapers and
manuals that do not announce their reading level
on the cover.
As newspaper representatives we already
know these facts, but it is up to the NIE
programs to tell school administrators, teachers,
and students. In this and other ways, these
professionals do a great service for your
They are salespeople, educators, and
public relations representatives rolled up into
one, taking your banner to a population that may
not automatically pick you from the newsstand.
As chairman of the NIE Statewide
Committee, I have had the privilege of working
with these dedicated professionals for the past
As one way of getting the newspaper
message out to educators, we have hosted a table
at the New Jersey Education Association
Convention for the past three years.
For two years we have produced a poster
featuring Miss New Jersey and the words:
"Read For Life."
We have coordinated a statewide essay
contest for middle and high school students about
living without hate.
We have hosted a workshop on the ABC rules
for NIE programs at the spring circulation
conference, and we have had speakers to help our
own NIE professionals learn about educational
programs going on in the state.
We have done these activities to not only
get the message out to the state that we exist,
but to help all of us get as good as we can be at
Each NIE program runs differently. Some
feature in-paper activities for children, while
others cannot afford the space. Some do workshops
in schools, while others send out curriculum
materials. Some are totally sponsored through
corporate donations, while others thrive on paid
In 1992, 25 percent of all newspapers went
to schools through corporate donation. By 2000
that number rose to 40 percent.
Vacation donation funds from subscribers
have also risen dramatically for all newspapers,
just as NIE circulation itself has taken off and
become an important part of the total newspaper
At The Record, our NIE program,
supervised by Circulation Sales Manager Sharon
Cole, coordinator Andrea Spaeth and me try to
blanket our delivery area of Bergen, Passaic, and
Hudson counties with a quilt of learning that
doesnıt just mean placing newspapers at school
doors, but physically going through those doors
ourselves to teach the teachers and students how
to use those newspapers.
It means a network of outreach to the
educational community and producing curriculum
materials and in-paper activities ourselves to
fill the void. It means conferences and
in-service programs for hundreds of teachers at a
We pride ourselves on having an
award-winning program, taking national honors in
the NAA's NIE General Excellence Award for two
years in a row, and winning the NAAıs Innovators
in Education Award two years in a row.
These items don't place papers, but they
help us to measure our impact with our audience,
to tell us if we are doing a fairly good job or
not. And this is just our program.
Throughout the next months you will hear
from a number of other NIE professionals. This
column is just the prologue.
Each month a different NIE coordinator,
manager, or director will take the platform to
talk about a different aspect of the mission we
face. They may also include information about
their own program.
So look and learn.
NIE is our future readers, our future
We cannot afford to ignore its impact.
As Walter Cronkite said so aptly:
"How can we turn out better informed young
people with a genuine curiosity about and
involvement in our world? We could start by using
the daily newspapers in our public schools."
Cynthia Forster is chairman of the NIE
Statewide Committee of the New Jersey Newspaper
Foundation. A former teacher and journalist, she
has a Master of Arts degree in communications, as
well as a secondary certification in English. She
has also done graduate work in curriculum
development and supervision. Besides working in
education services, she is presently on the
adjunct English faculty at Bergen Community
The Key to
NIE Program Success Is Personal Involvement with
BY STEVEN J.GONDELMAN
Former NIE Coordinator, The Press of
Coordinating a Newspaper in Education
program in New Jersey is not only challenging,
but I often ask myself, "Where am I going to
have so much fun on the job?"
The Press NIE program,
like all others in the state, rests on three
legs: circulation, marketing and finance.
Akin to all of New Jersey, our readers are
rich in family, school and work ethic.
But we are not unique in having to tailor
our program to social and economic
I work in a town whose main industry is
gambling houses. The biggest heading in our
yellow pages is "Escort Services," and
some of my potential readers must hunt and fish
for their daily protein.
The newspaper in education program of The
Press of Atlantic City isn't all boardwalk
Regardless of the challenge, our NIE
program shares the same goals as those programs
not fortunate enough to serve the beaches, Pine
Barrens and bays of non-suburban New Jersey:
- To spread the gospel of newspaper as a
tool of education;
- To develop programs that sustain teacher
interest while enhancing their skills as
- To translate this into quantifiable
increases in circulation, in hopes that we are
building a new generation of readers.
- To find a way to pay for all this.
What makes NIE productive at The Press is
the central role of the paper in our diverse
communities and the relationships established
with the schools we serve.
Each month I call or visit most of the 190
schools in our readership area.
I have learned the secretaries' names and
remember their families. I know which principals
are talkative, which teachers like to know what
special supplements are coming out and who likes
I show up for breakfast or lunch with an
arm full of papers and cookies. Iım there for
staff development, demonstrating, answering
questions and providing lesson material. Every
call is returnedıthose requesting classroom
materials returned first. And Iıll take any
group on a tour of the plant.
Iıve learned to anticipate need. I know
which schools use every part of the paper, and
use it in every grade. I have learned where my
thank-you letters will come from.
This type of participation is easy for me
I have 34 yearsı experience in the classroom.
Iım comfortable in a school setting - and it has
paid off. We donıt lack for new circulation.
Teachers approach PTAıs and community based
organizations for NIE funding. Last year, a few
phone calls brought out 600 entries for the New
Jersey Press Foundation Essay contest, one-third
of the statewide total. We represent our paper on
the Atlantic County Reads initiative.
Through our auspices, distance learning
for six Atlantic County high schools allowed
students to hear and interact with a nationally
known visiting professor. The opportunities for
increased readership in those schools were
On Mondays our 10 ıNIE Questionsı appear
in print. My column? It may be current,
historical or based on a newspaper feature.
Sometimes I even borrow a few from other
paperıs websites. About the second week of each
month, I get $100 from a retired gentleman. I
mail him copies of the questions. Does he want to
ensure continued printing of questions or he is
ensuring that in some school down here, a kid
starts his day with the paper? In an area where
your major industries do not market to children,
the support of your community is vital. When
grandparents want to know whatıs in the NIE, you
have done much to transplant the daily paper
habit to another generation.
Steve Gondelman is newspaper in
education coordinator of The Press of
Atlantic City. A 34 year veteran social studies
and business education teacher in the New York
City public schools, he helped found the
Bi-Lingual Education program, taught honors
classes for 22 years, writing much of the
curriculum and coordinated the pre-college
opportunities program at St. Lawrence University.