Many traditions at Wilson are cherished and celebrated by the staff and student body. Many of these traditions are brand new to the 2019-2020 class, like clout glasses at football games and crocs on Wednesdays. Something not so prevalent in Wilson tradition is the school newspaper, the Loudspeaker. Where have the school’s priorities gone? Is Journalism in the dust?
For years, the Loudspeaker has been a media outlet on campus, accessible for students and teachers. It provides top quality news and entertaining articles, all produced by journalism students.
For years, the Loudspeaker has been the epitome of a high school tradition. A bruin masthead overlaying the paper is nothing but school pride.
For years, students have been granted the freedom of speech through the words and thoughts printed in the paper. It has provided the only unbiased news about what is going on in the school, in the social media driven world we live in today.
Why was the Loudspeaker so prioritized years ago and not today? On August 30, the journalism class for the Loudspeaker was officially taken down. In room 352, 30 students were pulled out of class, and 25 journalism students were walked down to the counselors’ office to rearrange their schedules. The course titled, “Journalism: Management & Production” is now placed on the schedules of the five remaining journalism students who were told that they would jumble into a class of 37 eleventh grade English students. There was no time to process how quickly the chain of events happened and journalism was left in a full classroom with no other resources but a set of chrome-books and no production team. To reiterate, there was no way that the Loudspeaker staff could produce a paper.
What it came down to was that money was not budgeted for a teacher to teach the Journalism course, so it was combined with another course. In the midst of frustrating changes, the Loudspeaker staff will continue to produce news and content for Wilson. With the great help of Mrs. Smeltzer, and other staff members working behind the scenes, a plethora of emails and conversations with administrators, the Loudspeaker staff was able to obtain four Mac desktops.
We understand the many efforts administration has put into our journalism class, but they have also failed to understand that five editors are incapable of putting together a six page issue, much less a twelve page issue. Most people have no insight into what putting together and publishing a newspaper entails. Here is what it takes to produce a newspaper: first, our team must generate authentic and interesting article ideas. This consists of a time to embrace creativity and ideas from a group of students. Second, the stories are categorized into the four sectors of a newspaper: news, feature, opinion, and sports. These sections are taught to the journalists as well as the four writing styles that correspond to each section. Hence, the English aspect of the class. Then, each student will choose two to three articles that they will write within a certain time period that is reasonable. A deadline is assigned to provide enough time for editing and revising; we only want to produce top quality work for our readers. Moving forward, each section editor will go on an editing program called InDesign to place the finished articles on a page layout. The process will end with a finalized design sent off for printing and an exciting morning for distribution.
All things considered, the work like experience for a paper production is stressful for the total of five editors in a combined class. The inability to complete our classwork defeats the whole purpose of the administrative decision to preserve the class. We are always aware of our audience and have decided to go digital this year in order to reach more of our peers. Being independent and responsible for the website has been a surreal experience of what it’s like to have a job in the industry. The classes integrated into pathways are known as Link-Learning courses. These are courses designed to “increase the availability of rigorous college and career ready courses and supporting curriculum, as well as the professional development necessary to effectively implement and continuously enhance these courses,” as stated on the linked learning website.
The availability of rigorous college courses is definitely something that Wilson does a good job with, providing their students with about 40 advanced placement classes. Other classes that fall into the Link Learning sector are college readiness electives which journalism is a part of. Unfortunately, Ms. Combs the former journalism teacher needed to lighten her load. Combs is in the process of pursuing a master’s degree and teaching WAVE english classes as well as Yearbook. The time shortage in her schedule led to the decision to no longer teach the newspaper course. With no journalism teacher, Mrs. Smeltzer was able to take on the commitment of teaching the class. Smeltzer has a strong background in journalism and has worked as a journalist for many years. The importance of this course is more than just tradition and a college readiness elective. Writing and editing a newspaper teaches students how to become passionate and aware of the issues in our society. People need a source of news were they can discern real and fake news, opinions, and facts. It is important to recognize bias and real journalism in American society. Journalism is also a career.
As Wilson produces olympians, our school also produces successful students and soon to be journalists. Last year, the Loudspeaker editor-in-chief, Amber Eusebio, knew all too well that fashion journalism was what she wanted to pursue. With years of working on a paper like the Loudspeaker, the course helped her experience work-like tasks. Amber now goes to Ohio University in hopes to create a future in fashion journalism. The class of 2017-2018’s Sarah Patton decided that layout and editing was her passion. She is now attending UCSB and majoring in communications. Former alumni, Edwin Emery attended Wilson back in 1933. As newspaper editor, Emery was another successor of the journalism career path, and became a writer for journalism textbooks. These are just some examples of how the journalism course can influence a student’s future in a remarkable way.
The 2019-2020 Loudspeaker staff is composed of five female journalists, Co-Editors in chief, Adai Vidal and Windsor McInerny along with editors and writers, Alessandra Trejo, Samantha Brandts, and Karla Manzanares. A content filled website is in the works for our audience. Whether you need information about an upcoming sports event or interested in reading a survival guide for school, or simply looking for top quality news, our editors have you covered. The newspaper staff will continue to sow the seeds of the Wilson Loudspeaker.