New Holyoke High Elective Focuses on Media Literacy and Journalism

A new course offering focuses on journalism and the media.


Herald staffers visit The Harvard Crimson in 2015 (photo credit: Nick Elkins)

A new elective is coming to Holyoke High next year: Intro to Media!

Intro to Media is half-year elective in which students both critically analyze media and create content of their own. Major units of study will include media literacy, the role of journalism in a democracy, basic journalism writing skills, writing the op/ed piece, covering sports, photojournalism, podcasting, and using social media as an effective tool.

“I think this is a particularly important time for schools to start focusing on this sort of thing,” said Mr. Courchesne, the teacher who proposed the course. “No matter what side of our currently charged political climate you find yourself on, I think we can all agree a skilled, transparent, and trusted journalism industry is important.”

While the course is open to all freshmen and sophomores, any incoming ninth grader who hopes to join The Herald staff should take particular interest – Mr. Courchesne plans to use this course to get some potential staffers ready to master the skills needed to produce our publication. Because of the busy nature of keeping The Herald website updated, students are often forced to learn “on the job” as they produce content.

The Herald is a real newspaper,” said Courchesne. “We’re hectic, busy, and always moving. This course will give us the time to work on direct instruction of these important skills.”

The elective will serve as a gateway for students to join our staff!

Courchesne was quick to add that even students who don’t want to be a part of The Herald can get something out of the class because media literacy is an important skill no matter what your interests. This course will also focus on how to use social media like a professional – a skill many young people who enter the workforce lack. Courchesne also hopes to be able to arrange for senior Herald staff members to serve as mentors for the underclassmen in the class.

Any current eight graders who plan to attend Holyoke High School next year and are interested should sign up for “Intro to Media” during registration this year!

Questions? Comments? Concerns? E-mail Joe Courchesne at