Palo Alto High School journalism teacher Paul Kandell has been named 2009 National Journalism Teacher of the Year by the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund.
Kandell advises two cutting-edge journalism enterprises at Paly that publish the combined work of some 200 students. He also teaches beginning journalism and is a teacher-adviser for 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders.
He has been involved in designing the planned new media arts building at Paly and immersed in a quest to give students a taste of the future of journalism.
"All of (Paly's five publications) will cease to be in the form they are in now," Kandell said Monday.
"For example, the Viking is now a sports magazine. But in the future there's going to be sports online, sports on Twitter, sports video, and they want to make the Viking the brand name you pursue for all of those.
"The Campanile (student newspaper) will have its own personality that will go cross-platform. That's where we're headed."
In addition to a traditional yearbook, Paly has four student publications: the Campanile student newspaper, the Verde magazine, the Viking sports magazine and the online features enterprise known as the Voice. The Voice carries content from its own staff as well as material from the Campanile, Verde and the Viking.
Kandell is faculty advisor to the Voice and to Verde. Paly also has a broadcast journalism program known as InFocus.
Kandell worked with other journalism teachers and architects to help design Paly's new media arts building using "six principles" for the future of journalism. The principles include "being "multi-platform, promoting innovation, promoting collaboration and embodying transparency," Kandell said.
The two-story, 19,230-square-foot media arts building will hold eight classrooms, a darkroom, a broadcast TV studio, editing rooms, a computer lab, conference rooms, offices, a cafe and restrooms. Most will face into a large atrium.
Kandell joined Paly in 2000 after teaching English and journalism at San Francisco's Lowell High School for four years.
But that was not his first encounter with Palo Alto.
Working as a San Francisco stringer for Newsweek in 1994, he was sent to Palo Alto to write a story about how middle class people -- even professionals -- were having trouble affording homes.
Today Kandell and his wife Jacqueline, a French teacher at JLS Middle School, live "on the edges of Palo Alto, just outside, in Mountain View." Their two children attend Ohlone Elementary School and JLS under a program that allows children of employees enroll in the district.
Kandell said he will accept the award in November on behalf of his media arts colleagues at Paly, including Esther Wojcicki, Ellen Austin, Mike McNulty, Margo Wixsom and Ron Williamson.
"Most people have no idea the level of talent and leadership this campus has in media arts," he said if his fellow teachers. "They're an amazing group, one that has shared a vision of what journalism education can and should be."
Kandell has been involved in journalism education nationally, presenting at conferences and serving as a board member of the Journalism Education Association of Northern California and member of the Advisory Council Steering Committee for the Student Press Law Center.
He has developed an eight-week journalism program in East Palo Alto designed specifically to encourage Paly students who live there to take journalism classes during the school year. He also developed a workshop at San Francisco State University for advisers wanting to move their journalism programs to the Web.
He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a master's in journalism from the University of Missouri and a secondary credential in English from San Francisco State University.
The Dow Jones Newspaper Fund encourages high school and college students to pursue journalism careers, and publishes a newspaper for high school journalism teachers. The "teacher of the year" awards include attendance at several major conventions and seminars, a laptop for the Paly journalism program and a $1,000 scholarship for a Paly senior to pursue journalism studies.
Photos by Marc Havlik of the Web Journalism and Campanile school newspaper staffs.