That’s why the Portland, Oregon-based Lifetouch sales professional is so pleased to be able to teach journalistic principles to high school students as part of the company’s range of services. Since earning credentials as a certified journalism educator through the Journalism Education Association, he’s even more qualified to work with the young and often talented staffers who create yearbook content.
“It lets me be a much better partner with yearbook advisers or clients,” explains Schroeder, 28. “It ensures them I will be there every step of the way to bolster their program and raise the caliber of young professionals it creates.”
After college graduation seven years ago, the self-described “hippie farmer” had planned to use his degree in communications and environmental studies to blog about the sustainable farm he wanted to found. But his knack with a camera led him to a photography job with Lifetouch, where his supervisor soon recruited him for a sales position with the company’s yearbook division.
Recognizing that many of his yearbook adviser clients could use more help teaching reporting and photography to students, he soon decided to pursue the JEA certification that would brush up his journalism acumen and give him more clout and credibility as an instructor.
“High school yearbook advisers work their tails off,” he observes. “If I can take the lesson off their hands for a day so they can catch up on grading, editing some pages or copy or power nap in the back, I am more than happy to talk about my love of journalism with their students for an hour. It’s part of why I love my job.”
The JEA certification isn’t available to just anyone; candidates must start with a minimum level of college journalism training and teaching experience. After that, it’s achieved through the passing of a lengthy test intended to ensure the holder is qualified to instruct in topics ranging from writing and editing to graphics, design, legal issues and ethical considerations.
Now that he’s added the accomplishment to his resume, Schroeder spends about two days weekly teaching high school classes in subjects like reporting, writing and photography. If needed, he’s also available after hours to mentor young photographers and others interested in learning professional skills.
His favorite part of the job? The influence he hopes to have on the students.
“I was a high school yearbook editor, and I know that if a working professional had mentored me back then it would’ve had a major impact on my career,” he explains. “I want to be there for those student journalists, hold them to a higher standard and push them to become invaluable members of the fourth estate.”
Learn more about how Lifetouch can help you improve your yearbook curricula at Lifetouch.com.