The Homer High School newspaper The Mariner Compass is back. A group of students has been writing articles, taking photos and creating the layout for the recently-resurrected news site. And students are now working on a physical copy to distribute inside the school.
Senior Logan Reveil and Sophomore Sierra Deloach were working on the layout of for the next edition on a recent Thursday afternoon.
“We try to shift around the editing and layout things… this is our week,” Reveil said.
It isn’t quite the bustling newsroom you’ve seen in the movies or on TV, but all the kids were hard at work and talking through their stories. The students are in Mark Putney’s journalism class at Homer High. It’s their responsibility to decide on a topic, do the interview, get the photos and write up the article. Then they have to put the final product together. And they all seemed to be having a good time doing it.
Reveil has done a few interviews so far and said he’s had pretty good luck. Deloach wrote an opinion piece for last month called “Is Sexism Really a Notion of the Past?” She said interviews aren’t exactly her thing.
“I’m definitely better at the computer stuff than the people stuff.”
Junior Khadicha Mukambetova was sitting at the computer researching her topic for an opinion piece she’s planning to write. Though she said sometimes she has trouble getting started in the first place.
“I usually don’t know what to write about. Or if I do know what to write about, I don’t know… what kind of piece it should be. Like, a news report, or I don’t know if it should be a feature… I just have trouble with that,” she said.
Mukambetova said she’s interviewed her math teacher and the Homer High principal for a story, which she said went pretty well.
“They both gave me the answers that I was looking for.”
Senior Nahoa Jette said he also has trouble figuring out what to write.
“I’m not a very decisive person.”
But he said he definitely enjoys the act of writing; once he has a plan. And he said having a class with photos and articles for assignments works for him.
“It’s just really fun. And it’s a unique class, take a break from the regular math and science and that kind of stuff,” he said.
Jette and Sophomore Samantha Draves were working on a photo essay about “Movember.” It’s a month-long event where men grow out their facial hair to help raise awareness for health issues like prostate cancer. They were about to head out to snap a few photos of classmates. Draves said she likes being a reporter for the school paper.
“You have to be like a detective and try to find out all this information; be a good researcher,” she said.
She said she wanted to be in the journalism class because her writing needed a little something.
“I’ve been trying to work on developing my papers and making them interesting, and learning how to make it where people want to read what I write,” she said.
Putney said writing papers for classes is, of course, necessary. But giving the students another audience other than him or his fellow teachers has been a nice change of pace.
“It’s been fun to be able to publish writing. So they have a purpose.”
He said the students also have been learning about things like deadlines and the importance of planning ahead; both key components to the world of journalism.
“Sometimes teachers are gone and they thought they were going to interview them, or students are gone. That’s been, I think… a good experience. It’s a good life skill to start figuring out how do I plan ahead. Also communicating… they’re interviewing people in the community,” he said.
These cub reporters have published stories for September and October so far. There are articles about things like the history of the town, a new school district policy allowing the use of cell phones in class and a new program at the school called PhotoVoice.
A link to the online version: http://campbell.blogs.kpbsd.k12.ak.us/wpmu/2013/11/