Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I discovered a kindred spirit in writing – my niece! It’s a joy to hang around nieces and nephews and listen to them talk about what they’re into. There’s always something for me to learn. This time, my 15-year-old niece was working on a scrapbook for a friend and then brought out her own scrapbook that has been started for her newspaper articles. Newspaper articles?! Yep, you heard me right. She’s writing for her school newspaper and is an amazing writer. As I read her articles and editorial and had question after question for her, I realized that I was interviewing the interviewer and had to prepare for my next “publishing.” (Thanks AJ, this was fun! I loved hearing about your writing!)
My guest today… AJ, my niece and staff reporter for The Catamount school newspaper.
AJ loves to write. Since there’s no creative writing class offered at her high school, writing for the newspaper is her outlet. They should feel lucky to have someone like her with talent and passion with a purpose. (I did also find out that she doesn’t have her own blog. Now I have second purpose in mind here!)
AJ’s favorite class this year is Newspaper – The Catamount.
“I want to be a journalist in the future and this is a great start.
The only way for people to read my stories is through the paper, so I love that.” (My blog alarm went crazy here! We’ll be talking…)
I found out about the actual newspaper and how it gets put together.
“There are 14 total people. 6 staff reporters, brand new people like me with no special jobs who can write any stories. There’s
Editor in Chief (a Senior), a managing editor, an executive editor, Senior editor, Opinions editor, Features editor, Entertainment editor, News editor, Sports editor, Graphic artist, and Cartoonist.”
Her school newspaper sections include:
Action news – current things in the school, such as this being the first year for her school to have a Sr class
People pages – kids at school with special talents (2 articles under her belt so far)
Opinions – including her editorial in the second publication, an honor as a sophomore!
Entertainment – fine arts, reviews (hers on Pick Pack Push food truck, next publication), restaurants, apps, coffee places, etc.
Sports – it’s a requirement that student staff write for a certain number of sports (her first one in next issue)
Etcetera – anything chosen for a story, including photo stories
I was still curious…(and by now AJ may have been thinking that her aunt is a nut!). I had to find out how this all these parts come together.
“Brainstorm 1 week. Then everyone sends in 3 ideas. Managing editor talks about them. You can pitch your own idea too. Then you decide on 5 stories you want to write and 3 you don’t.” Interviewing and writing stories takes place in week 2. Designing pages, weeks 3-4. (The layout of pages is done by the editors.)
I always enjoy hearing about teachers in the classroom. Here’s what she had to say about hers.
“My teacher is very intelligent, has her PhD, teaches English at high school for college credit. She teaches Journalism and Newspaper. If she thinks you have potential, she will push you, but she won’t tell you.” I told AJ to keep on with what she’s doing and listen to her teacher. Her talent is coming through from her teacher’s “pushing.” I certainly think that AJ’s time and experience on the newspaper staff will serve her well.
Exciting things are ahead for my niece, her school, and the newspaper. She tells me that Newspaper and Yearbook websites are coming soon.
And she has plans and a goal set ahead of her – continuing on the Newspaper staff next year and hopefully Editor in Chief her Senior year. Keep the drive alive, AJ. You’ve got my vote!