Journalism: WHS’ Most Collaborative and Multifaceted Class


Lexie Hullivan, Reporter

A lot of students at Waterford High School claim they want to have a voice in our school, a medium to share their opinions, give recognition to interesting people, or share important information regarding an upcoming event or ongoing issue. However, any sophomore, junior, or senior has the choice to enroll in the school’s journalism course, where they would have the opportunity to write and publish about all of the aforementioned topics, and more.

The 2022-2023 staff of The Lancelot, the school paper where journalism students publish their articles, includes seniors Ava Burrows, Jeffrey Chin, Jack Donovan, Musharraf Atik, Isabella Kimball, Pankkudi Prashad, and Katherine Hawkins, juniors Alyson Lewis, Kayla Kelly , Emerson Lane, Paul Deon, and Katelyn Tryon, sophomore Lexie Hullivan, along with their teacher and editor, Stephanie Hartell. The students who have chosen this course throughout the years enjoy the self-discipline of the course, as well as the freedom to pursue any topic they are interested in with purpose. 

Another aspect of the class that staff members appreciate is that there is a job for everyone. Alyson Lewis, for example, is a very skilled video editor. She acts as the paper’s resident vlogger, making various types of videos around the school. Some of her most popular videos include, “How Well Do the Couples at WHS Know Each Other?” and “Chit-Chatting with Mia Petrini.” Lewis will spotlight one person, or groups of people that she edits seamlessly to fit a common theme. Lewis says that her talent and passion for video-making has “multiplied since joining journalism two years ago in my sophomore year.

“I love how many options Ms. Hartell gives us and how she allows me to showcase my best skills.”

— Aly Lewis

Additionally, leadership roles have been taken by a few other members as well. Pankhudi Prashad, who plans to major in journalism next year at The Honors College of Rutgers, is an editor of the Lancelot. Kayla Kelly has stepped up as layout editor, as she is proficient in the use of InDesign, the program used to format the print edition, and Emerson Lane is the sports editor, who coordinates previews of sports seasonally, highlights important players, and regularly updates sports scores on the online edition. As social media managers, Lane runs the Instagram account, while Ava Burrows frequently posts short, funny videos on TikTok. Burrows, who is a graduating senior, will “miss Ms. Hartell and all the friends I’ve made in this class. This was my favorite class I took all through high school because of the people I met and the lessons I learned.”

While journalism is fun and all, there are also some specific factors to consider when thinking of an idea, investigating and eventually writing. The best advice for brainstorming is to write down any idea you can think of, whether or not it’s a good or bad idea. This way, you get everything down on paper, and from there you may come up with a new idea based on your original one. Once you have your topic, start contacting people to interview right away. The sooner you have the quotes you need, the easier it will be to meet Ms. Hartell’s deadlines. 

In interviews, it is crucial to adjust your professionalism. If the person is older, utmost professionalism is always appropriate. Take notes on a laptop or notebook, rather than a phone, use a formal and polite tone, and show evidence that you’ve done thorough research prior to the meeting. However, if the interviewee is a fellow student or friend of a close age, it is typically better to be more casual, as to make the subject as comfortable as possible. Asking permission to record prior to starting questions can also be an excellent asset to the integrity of an article.

Finally, common writing rules used in English or history classes still apply. Above all, integrate your quotes smoothly, avoid first-person, and welcome peer suggestions. Collaboration is a major aspect of what journalism students do in class every day. From proofreading to making a layout for the upcoming issue, students become familiar with teamwork, which will go on to help them well past high school.

While journalism is gaining popularity at Waterford High School, with the class size increasing from 13 students this year, to over 30 next year, journalism in the outside world is often observed to be a plummeting career path. According to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce, jobs by newspaper publishers have fallen by 63%, while jobs by internet publishers have increased six times. The study also found that a likely one-third of journalism jobs will be lost by 2031. That being said, these statistics make WHS’ program all the more special. Waterford’s journalism program seeks to remedy the decline in journalism employment one student at a time. Journalism is an exceptional class option that WHS provides and looks great on your college transcript.