• Good luck to all athletic teams competing in the State tournament this week!

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The student news site of Westside High School.

Westside Wired

For Parents

WHY journalism?
The modern high school journalism program is a template for the future of education.  Where else can you find a place where students take leadership roles, make the decisions (based on support and advice from a professional educator), and plan and publish their own authentic publication?  They learn how to run a business.  How to write for multiple audiences.  How to take criticism.  How to approach others and have conversations.  They learn interview skills that are invaluable in the professional world.  They learn to innovate and solve problems.  They don’t just learn new things – they have to then translate that new knowledge into a format others can understand as well.  Why journalism?  Because it’s one of the most empowering experiences your student can take in high school, whether they become journalists or not.
More reading:  http://mediashift.org/2014/10/journalism-may-be-common-cores-new-english/

How different is journalism than your average class?
Think of your average high school class, and then throw that thought away. This is different.  In the production courses, the student editors run the class, from taking attendance to assigning stories.  Students make the decisions to run stories, they do all the editing, and they make all the decisions in the class.
Mr. Zegelis and Mr. Kaldahl take on the role of an “adviser.”  They assist in all aspects of production, as needed by editors, but makes no final calls (unless legal reasons force them to do so).  (For more on this, visit here:  http://jea.org/home/for-educators/standards/ )
It’s in this way that students learn real-world skills.  They make and meet their own deadlines.  Students learn to work with others in a real-life publication… even when they don’t like that other person.  Students solve their own problems.

How can I help my student pursue quality journalism?
Encourage your son or daughter to read, watch, and discuss media at home.  Ask them critical questions about what they consume.  Encourage them to experiment, and to write, create videos, etc.

What are late nights?
Late nights existed “back in the day” because students did not have laptops and/or the required software to work on their publication.  Now they exist as a way to get things done (there is NEVER enough time to do all we are required to do during class!) – and they act as important team-building events.  Attendance at late nights are REQUIRED.  There are sports and other exceptions, but all students should make their best effort to attend at least part of each late night.  Students are given late night dates weeks in advance, an adviser is present at all times, and students will NEVER be at a school late night past 8 p.m..

How are grades done?
I have to be honest here and say that grading is one of the toughest aspects of being a journalism adviser.  You could talk with 50 different advisers, and you might get 50 different ways to grade.
The reason why is that students wear so many different hats.  They write stories, they edit stories, they take photos, they design, they advertise, they collaborate, they take videos, they work on promotions, they cover events with twitter… it’s truly a fact that each student works on many more aspects of the media program than just one or two things.
That’s why this year I’ve put most of the grading on “standards.”  These standards are things that every journalism student should know.  Check those out on the left, as well as the rubrics I use for them. To show mastery of these, students will be creating portfolios and reflections they will share with me.
– One thing to know: these grades are always in flux.  Students can sit down with me at any time and go over their portfolio to show mastery of a standard, and can, at any time, attempt to earn a higher grade in a standard.  The only non-negotiable grades are deadlines – these are set in stone.  You either meet them or you don’t.

Summer Camps?
It is encouraged that all students attend camp, and highly encouraged that editors attend camp.  These are important opportunities for students to learn new things and apply them to their publication the next year.  Many, if not most of the camps are listed here.  
https://www.newsfund.org/pagetext/Prg_HomePages.aspx?Page_ID=Prg_OtherHighSchool
http://www.schooljournalism.org/workshops/

Competitions?
Students will have the opportunity to compete on state and national levels of competition.  Some of the contests do not require students to be present, while others require students to attend to compete with other students.

Important Dates/Events

JEA convention in Seattle April 6-9: seattle.journalismconvention.org/
Nebraska State Journalism Contest – April 25  (KEEP THIS DATE OPEN – ALL STUDENTS MUST BE OPEN TO ATTEND)
There are other contests and conventions that we may attend as they happen.

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The student news site of Westside High School.
For Parents