Since joining the staff of the JagWire newsmagazine in 2012, I have seen everything that a journalist could see while in high school. I have seen articles get censored by the administration, seen an angry mob of students barge into our newsroom over an opinion article we published, and I’ve also seen what it is like to have success.
During my three years of being on staff, I have also gained valuable skills. I have become an expert at using Adobe In Design and I am experienced with general PhotoShop skills. I have learned how to manage a website through WordPress and SNO’s Sno Flex platform. I have learned how to write according to AP style guidelines and I have learned how to create appealing graphics.
I have grown in more ways than just in skill. My perception on what journalism is and how it should be organized has evolved from my previous two years on the paper.
I used to think that journalism, true journalism anyway, had to be completely serious and focused in on the facts. I preferred newspapers to newsmagazines and I favored the traditional news, sports, and opinion sections. Everything else was just an attempt at becoming a teen magazine.
I wanted JagWire to reestablish credibility as a straight-forward news service, something that was lost in 2008, and not a pop culture and entertainment driven machine that appeals to the majority of snobby suburbia. I liked traditional fonts like Times New Roman and Franklin Gothic, and I preferred big headlines and large articles.
Now, I have learned that journalism is about telling a story, no matter the way, shape, or form. I have grown to love newsmagazine covers and FOCUS sections. I find entertainment to be a valid form of journalism, if not the future of journalism itself.
Above all, I have learned that 21st century journalism isn’t about following a traditional in-print guideline. To survive in this new world, journalism programs have to embrace the technologies that are available.
A website needs to coincide with a print edition. They should feed off each other. Social media should be used to get the news out there immediately, and to drive readers to look at your print edition or website.
Newspapers and newsmagazines aren’t responsible for only print articles anymore. I have learned that important stories need good photographs and graphics to bring the reader in. Online articles should have accompanying videos and info-graphics, or podcasts.
I am glad that I have been able to bring this change into the JagWire program. Our print edition features the strongest visual aids the publication has seen in years, we have a website for the first time since 2008, and our social media presence is growing. Our Facebook page has gained likes by the week and our Twitter account, which I created in August, has already surpassed the 100 followers mark and is still climbing week by week.
Journalism is changing, and if newspaper staffs choose to not get on board with the 21st century, they will perish.