Former advisor publishes book


MeJo Liao

Former Chronicle Advisor Kathleen Neumeyer published her book “Advising the Chronicle: How I taught high school journalism students to run billion-dollar companies (and you can too).” Neumeyer was the Communications Department Head for 24 years, overseeing 192 issues of The Chronicle.

Neumeyer said she wrote the book to share how high school journalism affected the careers of her former students after reading an article by Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff ’93 (Sophia ’23, Luke ’27).

“My book was inspired by a column written by [Rascoff] who was the co-editor of the Chronicle my first year as the full time advisor, 1992 to 1993,” Neumeyer said. “He wrote a column on on Sept. 1, 2015, with the headline ‘My High School Journalism Teacher Taught Me How to Run Billion-Dollar Companies.’ His point was that high school journalism prepares students for almost any career they decide to pursue, not just in journalism.”

Rascoff said he is honored to have inspired Neumeyer’s book.

“It is humbling to think that I was able to play a role in inspiring [Neumeyer] to write a book about her experience at Harvard-Westlake because she was such an instrumental teacher and mentor to me,” Rascoff said. “To think that the roles are now somehow reversed, that I have helped return the favor by inspiring her in this stage of her career, is incredibly rewarding.”

Neumeyer said she proceeded to interview students to understand how high school journalism affected their future careers, especially those that are not journalism-centered.

“I interviewed more than 50 former students and asked them if there was anything they learned in high school journalism that they still use,” Neumeyer said. “They outlined for me all the ways The Chronicle prepared them to design theme parks and video games, to program streaming services, to run school districts and major sports enterprises, to practice law and medicine and nonprofits. A former student who is a rabbi said that what he learned from journalism is the most important of his rabbinic skill set.”

Rascoff said he hopes that educators and coaches alike reading Neumeyer’s book will learn from her example and teach the next successful students.

“[Neumeyer] was a phenomenal teacher and treated her students with enormous maturity,” Rascoff said. “She was one of the first adults that I remember treating me like an adult even though I was still a student, and the trust that she placed in all of us inspired her students to rise to the occasion. Hopefully, other educators will read [Neumeyer’s] book and become even better instructors, mentors and coaches to generations of future students.”