Friday, April 9, 2010

Revolutionizing my school newspaper

By Gohar Chichian (Queens, NY)

"We're beginning to think about who next year's editors should be," my journalism advisor began today in class. The impact of her words hit me a moment later as she continued to discuss an upcoming trip for the current editors. We had gone to the conference before as fledgling editors, but as the year had progressed, we had grown. Assertive. Confident. Educated. Now it was time to pass the torch and take two new editors with us, and to welcome them into the world of journalism — where truth (if not censored) awaited, along with lessons on nut grafs, Stephen Glass and other forms of media.  

Where had the time gone? I wondered as I walked up to some of my underclassmen friends, urging them to replace us as next year's executive editors. We discussed our mistakes, our challenges, and our successes of the year in comparison to last year's editors. Though it had been rough and at times seemed a battle not worth fighting, being an executive editor had allowed me to find purpose and passion for a class that seemed dull last year. I have SJP and the friends I made there to thank for that.

When I got back from SJP and school started, I released a firestorm of new ideas for lessons and approaches to the class, and my advisor was infected by my enthusiasm as well. I found myself looking up examples of articles, creating worksheets, and using jokes from SJP to teach the class. I tried to spread my passion for journalism through the class, and show the gifts SJP had provided me with: confidence, passion, a purpose. As the year progressed, problems arose: broken printers, Internet connection problems, as well as censorship.

However, SJP had taught me that this was part of the process. We only needed to get back up, pick up where we had been before, and find a new approach in order to forge a path toward success and the print our stories. Though our newspaper, The Academy Gazette, is not as successful as some of those school newspapers that have been around for many years, like those that we have seen in journalism conferences we attended, I'd like to think that we did pretty well. We are on the verge of publishing our second issue, and edits of stories for the third issues are being made. When the first issue was published, there was nothing more satisfying than seeing my byline (except for when it was in The Princeton Summer Journal).

The class has been hectic, frustrating, and trying at times; but my passion and strength from SJP has allowed me to resolve to keep going. And as I reflect back on times with friends that I know will stick around for a long time, whether it is through an email or a Facebook comment, I'd just like to say one thing: I miss it dearly. (Along with the Bent Spoon's ice cream! =] Especially with the hot weather coming around ... )

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