SNO, the online website for the Torch is where I spend most of my time. As web manager, I am charged with the job of editing classmates stories, communicating with them on changes and eventually publishing their stories. Sometimes the job doesn’t go as planned. For example, earlier in the fall a writer submitted a story to be posted about a service dog in our school. I read the story and made some minimal changes, as I do with every story. The writer did not approve of the changes made so I had to go back and re-do some of the “said” errors. This was a learning experience for me because I realized not everyone is going to adapt to the changes as well as I assumed. Since then, I haven’t had any issues with edits and stories have improved tremendously throughout the year. Editing stories can be stressful at times but after “polishing” up a story, I feel accomplished with the changes I made and the way it sounds. During my final semester in high school, I published many stories, added many photos to stories and made sure links were inserted into certain words. In college, I hope I can continue to edit stories and make my stories fun and easy to read.
Designing photo pages, creating info graphics and interviewing many students describes my role as photo editor. The focus of being a photo editor is to design pages for the magazine. I love this job because I get to be creative and think of ways I can arrange pictures, texts and info graphics across two pages. During this year I completed ten photo pages for the issue, two for the fall issue, two for the winter issue, two for the February issue, two for the March issue, and two for the senior issue. In my fall spread, I got pictures from various students sharing activities they participated in throughout the season. Found in my winter spread are facts about real vs. artificial Christmas trees and photos of students trees in their homes. Featured in my February spread are students faces in chocolate candies, explaining their favorite Valentine’s presents. Lastly, on my March photo pages are images of teachers and students in their prom dresses. (Below you can find pictures of my fall spread, winter spread, February spread, and March spread.)
As the year comes to an end, I have noticed many accomplishments of mine. Every couple of weeks I completed a reflection on three jobs I did. After reviewing those reflections, I can conclude that I have done lots of copy editing, wrote a couple stories and sent out occasional tweets. As a team member of Torch, I notice myself focusing on editing/publishing stories most. Although the other jobs I do for the staff are important, I am the main member to timely post stories. Skills I feel solid on are proof reading, communicating to other editors/writers and keeping up with deadlines. Some areas I will try to expand on if I join the Iowa State newspaper are: writing more stories, improving my photo qualities and making sure to post frequently. I believe with the help I have been given at Kennedy through Torch, I will be able to transition into a college newspaper class more swiftly. Creating more unique pages is my prime goal for my future newspaper career. This is crucial to me because I will want students and community members in Ames to relate to my work and be excited about it. Even though my senior year is now over, I have several goals to achieve in future newspaper classes. I look forward to watching the Kennedy Torch prosper and to continue my journey at Iowa State.
In Torch I utilize many technological programs to design my pages, present information, edit photos and gather data. The programs are: In-design, Photoshop, SNO, Piktochart and Twitter. In-design is the program I use to create my photo pages. Typically, I add background colors, insert pictures, insert texts and incorporate info graphics on in-design. Photoshop is the application I use when I want to crop, increase/decrease resolution or edit a picture. This program is very helpful and is compatible with in-design. SNO is the online site I edit, review and publish stories on. It is a great website for a student magazine because it has various features and ways you can customize it. Piktochart is the program I use to create info graphics. Info graphics are helpful for photo pages because they can add a more unique look to the page instead of just adding photos taken from a camera. (Below is an example of one of my info graphics.)
Lastly, Twitter is the program I use to promote web stories, express news and gather information to write stories. This application is one of the most essential resources for me. Overall, each of these technological programs are very useful and serve as a base for me to grow as an editor/writer.
As a leader in Torch I have been assigned to two main jobs, photo editor and web manager. These jobs are great for me because I am very serious about editing classmates stories and I love designing photo pages for the magazine. In addition to these positions, I also help teach the future members of Torch how to correctly write journalism type stories. For example, I taught a mini lesson on errors I look for when proof reading papers. Some of these errors include: after quoting someone, making sure to put a last name first and then the word “said”, when writing a date, always to spell out only the first three letters of the month, and having a photo to incorporate with each story. Other than creating photo pages, helping the journalism students and managing the website, I am also involved with the Torch twitter account. During the week of the flood, I tweeted out many pictures of the city and students at Kennedy helping sandbag. Since I am a part of the dance team, I frequently will tweet updates and times of competitions and when attending sporting events I like to tweet out crucial updates. In conclusion, I enjoy my jobs and the added roles given to me. Every assignment gives me opportunities to learn and improve the work I publish in the magazine and online.
Before starting to write any story, I immediately will plan out a story map. My story maps include the people I will be interviewing and the questions I will be asking each individual. (Below is an example of one of my story maps.)
After constructing the map, I will then proceed to interview my sources. While interviewing, I usually record the conversation with the person, along with taking notes on the main points. Recording the conversation helps me so I can keep up with what the person has to say and if I am unsure of an answer given, I can always go back and re-listen to the interview. Then I will start writing and drafting the story. Generally after I complete my first draft, other writers/editors will review and make changes to it. (Below is an example from the first draft to the second.)
Lastly, after proof reading and editing my drafts I upload my final story to the online publishing site, SNO. This allows my editors or I to publish the story for the public to read.
During this past school year, I have wrote several web stories. Usually you can find my stories under the news and sports sections. I focus mainly on news themed stories because I am involved in student government and am often updated on events around our school before other students. Working with both student organizations is helpful because I can write stories to publicize for student government events and I can also get student government to collaborate with Torch. Three of the news stories I have written about student government events are, the coats for kids rivalry, homeless night and the senior walk. I believe by writing these stories, I helped promote the events and brightened up the news section -on the Torch website- with some fun things to do instead of always reading about the election and other current topics. Neither of those stories listed above made it into the news magazine because they weren’t timely for when the issues were released. However, I am honored my story about the coat drive was published through the gazette website. In addition to the coat drive story, my publication on the senior walk received a lot of attention as well. Overall, I strongly feel the stories I wrote were frequently read by students and staff at Kennedy High School.