Digital media memberships are for standalone news websites and digital-only operations. The digital media program must be separate and independent from any print or broadcast news program at the school. Most MIPA-participating schools with print or broadcast programs do not meet the criteria to have a separate digital membership for their news website.
Characteristics of an independent digital media program may include:
- Independent student leadership. The editor in charge of a digital media program does not report to the editor of any other media program. Programs should have editorial boards independent of other media programs at the school.
- A clear separation from other media programs at the school. This separation might be shown by having different advisers, a separate class time, a separate staff (beyond leadership), separate branding and/or other structures and systems that show a distinct separation (while allowing collaboration).
- Original content developed primarily for that platform. A focus on web-only and/or web-first content for independent digital media programs and a focus on print-only or print-first content for print-only publications. Programs that share a majority of their content with each other, while having very little or no exclusive content, generally do not meet MIPA’s standards for separate memberships.
If the digital media program shares a website with other independent media programs at the school, it should be clear which content is produced by each program. If nearly all content is routinely shared and many staff members work across platforms, the programs likely would not meet MIPA’s standards for independent, separate memberships.
Membership in MIPA runs the academic year and is open to student media outlets at public, private and parochial high schools, middle schools and junior highs. These media outlets should be under the direction of an adviser or a teacher who is associated with the school’s media or journalism program. Join by Oct. 1 to save $5.
Benefits for Student Media Outlet Members
MIPA provides a host of services for advisers and students, including:
- Fall and spring conferences with top-notch speakers for students to learn practical information they need to put out great publications and to learn about issues and careers in journalism, plus a middle school conference with sessions designed specifically for younger student journalists.
- A summer workshop for students featuring specific courses in online, newspaper, yearbook, broadcast, design, writing and photography.
- Hands-on workshops where students can learn the latest journalism techniques.
- A “hotline” for legal problems student media outlets may face.
- A mentorship program for new and inexperienced advisers.
- A liaison between Michigan’s longest continuously accredited journalism school and middle/high schools.
- A full-time executive director to coordinate professional development activities for advisers, including summer credit courses and special programs throughout the year.
- A website and newsletter to keep the membership informed, plus email messages throughout the school year.
- An occasional advisers’ retreat where teachers can relax, exchange ideas and attend informative work sessions.
- An evaluation/contest service for newspapers, yearbooks, broadcast programs and websites for the Spartan Award, the highest award MIPA presents to student media outlets, plus an individual category contest for newspapers, yearbooks, broadcast productions and online student media.
- Hall of Fame for student media with longstanding traditions of excellence.
- An honor cord program to recognize graduating seniors for academic achievement and superior work in journalism or school media.
- Reduced fees for all MIPA events, including conferences and workshops.