Journalism is one of those lovely little innovations that is being phased out by the Internet era, and schools don’t have the budget to support a dying art.
At least, that’s what I’m told.
My name is Casey Chaffin, and I’m the editor-in-chief of West Salem High School’s burgeoning student newspaper, The Titan Spectator. We started up our little publication one year ago. Last year, we were a school-sponsored club. This year we’re a school-funded elective. When I talk about journalism, all I see is an opportunity for expansion, not a looming headstone in a graveyard of obsolete crafts.
That isn’t to say some people don’t buy into the belief that journalism is on its last legs. My high school nixed the school’s original publication, The Promethean, among budget cuts in 2011. But that didn’t stop The Spectator from rising from the ashes.
This year, we are a real, live elective class — Newspaper Production — and we have a printing budget. Our first printed issue ever is slated for November. Yes, we have a very small staff. Yes, some people still say, “What? We have a newspaper?” when I drop The Spectator into conversation (which, I admit, is quite often). We are small, but with every issue we make more connections with school students and staff, in addition to community members.
Now, that doesn’t seem so dead to me.
During the 2013-2014 school year, I was a freshman. I was actually looking forward to being on the school newspaper, until I found out the program had been defunct for a couple years. I was disappointed, but that year my English teacher just happened to be the former adviser for The Promethean. Together, we hatched a plan: Let’s start up the newspaper again!
The idea came to fruition at the beginning of my sophomore year, 2014-2015. “Newspaper Club” held its first meeting in October, and our first issue came out in December, in an online format. Subsequent issues came out in February and May. Before I knew it, my adviser (the English teacher) and I were sitting in the principal’s office discussing the possibility for a newspaper elective the following school year. And so, journalism is very much alive at West Salem High.
Originally featured in West Salem Neighbors magazine.