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School Newspaper Staffing

Ensuring that an appropriately prepared and endorsed teacher is assigned to teach in Michigan’s classrooms is critical to student achievement. The State Board of Education (SBE) has approved standards for preparing teachers to earn endorsements.

Offering school newspaper as an after or before school activity, outside of the designated instructional hours, and or as an extracurricular activity does not require a certified teacher.

School newspaper courses offered as a part of the instructional day may emphasize a wide range of knowledge and skills. The most appropriate endorsement for a teacher of a school newspaper course will depend on the specific course content and credit to be awarded.


A journalism course involves more than simply the production of a newspaper for distribution. Journalism is the collection, preparation, and distribution of news, related commentary, and feature materials through multiple media, including, but not limited to, pamphlets, newsletters, newspapers, magazines, radio, motion pictures, television, books, blogs, webcasts, podcasts, and e-mail. Journalism also involves the study of the history, evolution and role in society of multiple media, and of legal and ethical issues related to reporting the news. When the content of a school newspaper course covers these several aspects of news and information production and dissemination, the Journalism (BC), Communication Arts (AX), or Language Arts (BX) endorsement is required.

Please note that both the Journalism (BC) and Communication Arts (AX) endorsements were discontinued July 1, 2018, and these endorsements are no longer required to teach journalism courses. Discontinued endorsements are not removed from teaching certificates. School districts will be free to assign any teacher to these courses who provides evidence of professional development and holds a certificate for the grade level at which these courses are offered upon.

English/Language Arts

If the focus of a school newspaper course is primarily on the research and writing of articles and the basic production of a school newspaper, and not the study of journalism as described above, then a teacher certified in English (BA) or Language Arts (BX) may teach the class. It is recommended that when writing and producing a newspaper is the emphasis, and an English/Language Arts teacher is assigned, the class title and content description should indicate that emphasis (e.g., Writing for Publications: Newspaper).

If the course emphasis is on writing, with all students in the class having the same basic writing requirements and earning English/Language Arts credit, the teacher be endorsed in English or Language Arts. It would be inappropriate for the English or Language Arts endorsed teacher to instruct students in the selling of advertisement, illustration, photography, or other aspects of journalism as described in the previous section.