High school newspaper printed in color
Article and Photo by Kennedy Kats
(Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016)
A new school year means a new beginning for the high school newspaper. This year, the high school journalism students will produce seven newspapers that will be featured and printed in The Topeka Capital-Journal.
According to Zach Ahrens, the president and publisher of the Capital-Journal, there will be seven schools taking advantage of this new opportunity, including Topeka West, Washburn Rural, Topeka High, Seaman, Shawnee Heights, and Highland Park.
Ahrens described how he came up with this idea.
“In early December 2015, I was on a historical tour of Topeka High School and happened to meet the journalism advisor. During my visit, I read a copy of the student journalism publication, The World.
“It was amazing to hold the newspaper and flip through the tabloid sized pages that displayed the quality work of young journalists. The publication flowed with passion for informing, investigating and entertaining their readers. As I was reading I was thinking, ‘We have to get this in the hands of a larger audience.’
“After some planning and coordination, in April 2016, The World made its debut to Capital-Journal readers and it received positive feedback from Topeka High School alumni and Capital-Journal readers. When the May issue was published and inserted, it also garnered great comments from the community. We knew almost immediately that our pilot program was a success and began reaching out to nearby schools to gauge their interest in participating. Before we knew it, we had met with dedicated newspaper advisors and the area’s brightest young journalists from seven Shawnee County high schools and officially launched the student newspaper project,” Ahren stated.
He explained how this partnership will offer a great learning experience for the students involved.
“Students, from each of the seven participating high school newspaper staffs, will have a seat on a newly formed student editorial advisory board that will meet later this fall. The student editorial advisory board will give young people an opportunity to interact with one another and give representatives from Heartland Vision’s community pride committee an opportunity to discuss topics and encourage them to write positive articles on the various topics.
“Journalism students will also be given the opportunity for a mentorship program within the Capital-Journal, focusing on local beats (local business, city government, local prep sports) to instill a deeper knowledge and appreciation for their community,” Ahren said.
According to Jamie Manhart, Silver Lake journalism teacher, the Capital-Journal will print 725 copies of the school’s newspaper for each student in the district, along with 17,000 newspapers that are printed for Capital-Journal subscribers around Shawnee County.
These newspapers will be printed in full color. The high school’s first printed 12-page newspaper will be published Oct. 14.
Manhart described how this opportunity will affect her students.
“This will have a significant impact on the current high school journalism staff. For the past six years, we have uploaded our newspaper to our district web site and hoped that maybe 40 people read it. Now, with the printed newspaper, our readership will be almost 18,000 people. That number alone has made the staff stop in their tracks and say, ‘Whoa, this better be good!’
“I think the students will put more effort into their creative designs, expand the depth of their writing, and spend more time editing. This partnership allows for journalism to seem more ‘real,’” Manhart said.
This new opportunity means not only a better learning experience for the students but also more pressure on the journalism staff, including Senior Abby Brockmann, editor of the high school’s newspaper, The Eagle Times.
Brockmann shared her thoughts on what it is that makes her most nervous.
“I am most nervous about the deadlines. Instead of being a deadline I set, they are set by the TCJ, and it is extremely more pertinent that we meet it,” Brockmann explained.
Brockmann described what she finds most exciting.
“I am most excited to be able to receive more readership and recognition for all of the hard work we put into the newspaper. It will be super awesome to see everything on paper and all official looking!” Brockmann stated.
Manhart said that journalists are not the only students who will benefit from the expanded newspaper exposure.
“Not only are 18,000 people seeing the work of the journalism students, but they are also reading about the accomplishments of Silver Lake High School students, the unique personalities that grace our hallways, and the wonderful education that Silver Lake offers its students on a daily basis. It gives our district an opportunity to share with others the excellence that Silver Lake exhibits,” she said.