Transforming with the times

By Mary Adams
IHSPA Student Board Member
Ben Davis High School

We all have dealt with schools changing throughout the past year, and student journalists have had to change the way they produce content multiple times. My school has been completely virtual, hybrid, back to virtual, and then back to hybrid again. And now we’re about to start going back full time.

The media staff has had to adjust the way we get things done every time we’ve had to change.

Our newspaper, The Spotlight, was fortunate enough to already have a functioning website before the pandemic. When we originally shut down, all of our content went online. Our school is also in a well-populated area, so we are able to bring copies of our newspaper to local restaurants and businesses.

There have been many pros and cons of the hybrid schedule. A major pro was our website because we didn’t have to find new ways to publish. Being online half of the week resulted in more time to get stories done at home.

We spend our two days we’re in school to get our assignments, finish work and have class discussions. Our staff is also really small, with only 20 people in total. We are divided between two class periods, and only half of students are at school each day. This helps us social distance because there have only been around five students in a class.

This has helped us keep some class traditions, like letting us share current events.

One of the biggest challenges is that as an editor, I don’t get to do as much editorial work as I would like. With editors only at school twice a week, most of the work is left for our teacher. Most of the editorial work I have done is reviewing pages for typos before the issue is sent to the printer.

The staff members also haven’t gotten to know each other as well as we could have. You would think with a staff of only 20 people, we would get to know each other well, but we’ve lost that opportunity this year. We also can’t make sure everyone is up to date with their work. Even though spending time at home helps us finish stories, we can’t guarantee that everyone will take that opportunity.

With constant changes to life, we can’t guarantee that things will ever stay the same. As journalists, we have to learn to adjust quickly when changes happen. When things do change, we have to remember that not everything is a bad change. All changes have two sides, and there’s always a good side hidden somewhere.

Even though the pandemic has been hard on all journalism programs, we can all agree that our media programs have grown in some way.

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