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26 soundtrack: “The News” Jack Johnson

01•28•10 a look inside

Inside the newsroom: how The Rock runs Q&A

With Adviser Jack Kennedy Rock: Why did you want to be a newspaper adviser? Kennedy: When I first started I was the newspaper adviser because it was part of my job, I basically had to. Now I like advising because it’s real writing. It is students getting to practice the power of their rights with real readers.

The abbreviated editorial policy

Making The Rock A step by step guide


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The goals of The Rock, the monthly student newspaper of Rock Canyon High School, are to inform, educate and entertain its readers; to provide a forum for the Rock Canyon community to express attitudes and opinions; to provide an educational opportunity for both the students who produce The Rock and those who read it; and to provide a medium for commercial messages.

To get started every month, the staff brainstorms. They discuss trends, people, and events that would benefit the school to be publicized. Brainstorming is done differently every issue, but there are commonly several breakout sessions where the staff meets in smaller groups, and then later compiles all of the ideas the small groups came up with.

The Editorial Board retains the right to choose all content and to determine story priority. This Board is made up of 7 students – Executive Editor, News Editor, Sports Editor, Culture Editor, Visual Editor, Community Editor – with the adviser a non-voting member of the Board.

Then, the editors look at the results of the brainstorming and begin to decide what they want included in each of their sections. The editors then meet, apart from the rest of the class, to discuss assignments. As a newspaper the editors check to make sure they cover as many clubs, classes, sports, and people as possible. As an instructional class, the advisor makes sure that every member of the class is receiving assignments that will force them to grow as a journalist.

The Editorial Board will select editorial topics. These editorials will not be signed by the writer, but will reflect the opinion of the majority of the Editorial Board. Commentaries and columns will be signed and reflect the views of the writer alone. Editorial cartoons fall into the same category as commentaries.

The editors have now given out all of the assignments in person, and online. The Rock uses ‘Google Docs,’a free online service that allows for word documents to be shared online and edited by multiple people simultaneously. All assignments are transferred through Google Docs. At this point the reporters ask their editors any questions they have, and they begin working on their assignments, whether they be writing, photography, or art.

Any person with an interest in the Rock Canyon community who has an opinion is encouraged to submit letters to the editor. All letters must be signed, but

The newspaper will function in accord with all applicable laws, both in regards to the rights and restrictions of journalism. The Statement of Principles of the American Society of Newspaper Editors serves as the basis for the publication’s ethical standards. The basis for the publication’s legal positions include the DCSD policy and regulations pertaining to school publications and Colorado Rev. Stat. 22-1-120, student exercise of free expression. As members of a student newspaper, reporters and editors may find themselves aware of violations of the law committed by students which do not involve authorities. However, only crimes and transgressions that result in official charges will be reported in The Rock. Sources will not be allowed to read the final text of any story to be published in The Rock prior to publication. Sources may wish to have their names withheld from a particular story. The Editorial Board will decide on a case by case basis whether anonymity may be granted to protect the source. Once anonymity is granted, the Board must stand behind its decision, whatever the pressure.

The abbreviated state law Colorado Code, Section 22-1-120

One to two weeks after assignments are given, with exceptions in both directions for exceptionally timely stories, and for long feature stories, rough drafts are collected. This date varies, but is generally the Tuesday or Thursday before The Rock goes to press. Editors review the rough drafts, and give them back to reporters with the appropriate corrections. The editors now know for sure which assignments will be going into the paper, which assignments fell through, and which assignments should be expanded. With this knowledge, any necessary adjustments to the coverage are made.

(1) The general assembly declares that students of the public schools shall have the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press, and no expression contained in a student publication, whether or not such publication is school-sponsored, shall be subject to prior restraint except for the types of expression described in subsection (3) of this section. This section shall not prevent the advisor from encouraging expression which is consistent with high standards of English and journalism. (2) If a publication written substantially by students is made generally available throughout a public school, it shall be a public forum for students of such

school. (3) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to authorize the publication or distribution by students of the following: (a) Expression which is obscene; (b) Expression which is libelous, slanderous, or defamatory under state law; (c) Expression which is false as to any person who is not a public figure or involved in a matter of public concern; (d) Expression which creates a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts, the violation of lawful school regulations, or the material and substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school or which violates the rights of others to privacy.

Every staff member on The Rock acknowledges that we are far from perfect, and we are okay with that. Newspaper is a class for us, and as a class that means it is a place to learn. This explains much of our smaller mistakes in writing style and amateurism. However, this does not explain our occasional bias, our misspellings of people’s names, and our lack of interviewing. Almost all of the staff members have a bad tendency to procrastinate. We call people late on the night we go to press to get quotes, and we miss deadlines. This is our greatest weakness. Most of our mistakes could be averted had we just

started working earlier. It causes us to not interview enough sources, which is one of our biggest weaknesses. Our stories appear biased because we do not do the proper research. Our other large weakness is not covering all of the groups in the school. We have huge problems covering all of the clubs, and covering non-varsity sports. We apologize to all of the people who deserve coverage and did not receive it, and we apologize for all of the articles where we did not cover both sides of the story, and we hope to continue to improve the rest of the year. Alex Rowe

An analysis from the editor

Editors and page managers begin creating their pages. While some of the class designs, the rest of the class finalizes their work. Writers turn rough drafts into final drafts, photographers pick their best photos to appear in the paper, and art is finished. One day during the weekend before the paper publishes, the staff comes in and works. By Monday, all content should be finished. The staff will then stay late on Monday night to finish pages, try to avoid errors, and to finalize. Deadline is at nine o’clock Monday night. Starting with this issue, we are editing our final copy and sending it to press on Tuesday. Compiled by Alex Rowe

anonymity may be requested.

From top of column: Drew Dodds ‘10, interviews Sara Eldrige ‘11. Dani Burrage ‘12 takes photos as part of an assignment. Zach Anderson ‘12, creates editorial art during the weekend work day. Assistant Sports editor Zach Tornabene ‘11, goes over a rough draft with reporter Karly Hanson ‘12. Sports Editor Meghan Long ‘10, finalizes a page. Photos by Connor Dozois

Rock : What exactly does the adviser do? Kennedy: I’m like the head coach of a sports team. I don’t play the game but I help train the players. My real job is to encourage high standards and to help students put out a good publication. Rock : How many years have you been an adviser? Kennedy: In total I have been advising newspaper for 27 years. At Rock Canyon, I have been advising for 6 years. Rock : What is the best part of being The Rock adviser? Kennedy: The best part is seeing students take control of their own education and understanding the power of freedom of expression. The real bonus, though, is getting to work with the best students in the school. Rock: How is The Rock different from other publications? Kennedy: It is really just the students. From place to place, the key is the staff of the newspaper. There are different staff members and editors so it is their ideas and decisions that differ from everywhere else. Rock : Is there anything else the readers should know? Kennedy: Yes. I want the readers to know that it is not my newspaper. I don’t have the same interest as a room full of 17-year-olds. I’m actually proud that it is not my newspaper. Compiled by Taylor Pettaway

Why... do you work on The Rock? • Newspaper’s one of the only classes where we all have mutual respect for one another, as journalists, as students, and ultimately as people. -Skyler Draper ‘10 • Doing something I enjoy, and getting school credit for it. - Amanda Becker ‘11 • Everybody has something to say; we are just lucky enough to have our thoughts in print. -Myles Wallingford ‘10 • Newspaper in general has taught me a lot of things, not just about writing, but becoming a better person in general. -Dani Burrage ‘12 • Newspaper is like a job for me, but a fun job. The hard work, weeks of stress and frustration... it’s all worth it when I see our final product, and I feel really proud that I was a part of it. -Laura Romer ‘11

Issue 5 page 26  

With Adviser Jack Kennedy 01•28•10 a look inside do you work on The Rock? anonymity may be requested. Rock: Why did you want to be a newspap...

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