Multimedia Journalism Encourages Student Voices
As soon as you enter, you realize this isn’t a typical classroom. It’s a Newsroom.
There are no traditional rows of seats. Instead desks are arranged in horseshoe where students can easily talk about campus events. Old meets new with Apple computers and vintage typewriters lining the walls. Before class, students lounge on a futon drinking freshly brewed coffee.
Just like the vibe of the room, Intro. to Multimedia Journalism (IMJ) is a class that is different than other fine arts electives. In the class, students learn how to communicate information to a mass audience through writing, photography and design.
Senior Kyle Pearce said “If [students] want to do journalism in the future, they should start now.”
He joined the class because he has an interest in music journalism and hopes to be on a radio show when he is older.
Because of the class, Pearce described he has become more aware of the news. “I would recommend anyone to join this class to get out of their comfort zone.”
“The skills developed in IMJ allow students to become more involved in the school culture,” said Meghann Callaghan, IMJ teacher and The Aztlán adviser, “At the heart of it, student journalists are curious people who like to be in-the-know on campus life.”
Senior Rylee Allen enrolled because she wanted to join a class that focused on writing.
Allen described the class as “real world writing” learning skills you wouldn’t in another class.
“A typical day consists of working on an article in class or taking notes. The workload is pretty light and you work in class,” said Allen.
Allen discussed how a student who joins can strengthen their writing skills and people skills by interviewing.
Callaghan said “I think when students first heard ‘journalism,’ they only think of writing, but it goes beyond just writing about something. Creating an article involves thinking about what stories Aztecs would find interesting and what is the best way to communicate them. It really is the art of storytelling.”
Junior Anna Koclanakis said “someone who enjoys writing and is open minded,” should join IMJ. She said that the class is good for language arts and it helps her keep up with current events.
The class has made Koclanakis more aware with the world and on campus. She described that everyday in class is different and interesting.
“The curriculum cannot be set in stone because it changes based on what it happening on campus and in the news,” said Callaghan. “It is not a class that will look the same every year because the world isn’t the same every year.”
Though current events help navigate the class, the foundation of journalism and basic sections of a newspaper are taught.
Callaghan said “We start the year with understanding media law, then move our way through each section of the newspaper. By the end of the year, we have covered news, features, arts & entertainment, opinions, sport writing, photography, cartoons and broadcasting. There is something for every student’s interest.”
“I saw it as an opportunity to develop a new talent, and maybe even a career opportunity,” said junior Karem Trindade.
Trindade enjoys the class because she learned how to communicate better with people. She also likes how the class is independent work.
“I will remember that knowing what is happening around you and being informed is really important,” said Trindade, “Also that communication is also key in life.”
“It has taught me that being an informed citizen is really important and it correlates to what you write,” said Trindade.
After being in the class for a semester and meeting qualifications, a student can join The Aztlán staff. A student will still be in IMJ to learn how to vary their writing style, but will also be in Advanced Multimedia Journalism as an independent study class in zero or seventh period.
Trindade’s transition from enrolling in newspaper was described as a way to feel more responsible. “What you do affects the work of others,” she explained. She has learned how to balance the pressure of getting interviews and writing on time.
Senior Colin Wu is also enrolled in IMJ and in the zero period newspaper class. Wu said that being in newspaper is “one of the few ways that one can be heard.”
“Students’ voices about the ongoings of their school are essential. Campus newspapers allow students to freely comment on their world,” Callaghan said, “When students are able to express themselves, we all benefit.”
“What is good about being a member of the paper is that you can really do something for the school, for the students and for the teachers,” said Wu.