[appeared in Kyouiku Katei Shinbun October 1998]
At many German schools students run their own regular school newspaper. These publications fall under the general press laws, so students can experience the rights and responsibilities of a journalist by writing for their school paper. They often use these forums for expressing openly what they like or dislike about their school or society in general.
Topics may be of local interest like school events, interviews with
teachers or celebrities of the area, critique of certain teachers'
classes, discussion of the school's regulations like anti smoking
Often the contributions are also of broader interest, e.g. students do research about drugs, social problems or local history, write a report about a trip to partner schools abroad or introduce their favourite pop stars.
Many school newspapers have gone online during the last years. As of
September the German School Web (http://www.schulweb.de/zeitungen.html) lists over 800 German school
newspapers online, among them some from German schools abroad (not
only in European countries, but also in Thailand, Singapore, Korea,
Indonesia or Uruguay).
Another list exists at ZUM (http://www.zum.de/cgi-bin/hoturls?zeitung).
We can also find contact information from several Youth Press organisations on the web now (http://www-stud.uni-essen.de/~sw0301/jp.htm).
Unfortunately so far only a few school papers provide information in English. One of them is the "Intercultural Times" by Steglitz High School in Berlin, which guides the reader through various ascpects of intercultural life in Berlin (http://www.snafu.de/~gymnasiumsteglitz/). This includes multiethnic statistics about their schools' students, Turkish culture in the Kreuzberg borough or Asian architecture throughout Berlin.
Some of the big German newspapers and magazines are quite interested
in young journalists and give awards to outstanding school newspapers.
You can find links to some of the recently awarded by "Der Spiegel" under
http://www.bubis.com/fact/spiegel98.html or at
HSJV (http://www.hsjv.org/szw/news.htm). In one competition awards for "best online school paper" went
to "Umlauf" (http://www.umlauf.de/) in Kassel and FACT (http://www.bubis.com/fact/eng.frame.html) of Waldorf School
Why not contact some of the authors and give them feedback from a country far away?