Editor’s notice: On Wednesday, Nov. 17, 5 college students — from the Tyrone and Hollidaysburg Space excessive faculties — bought an insider’s view of the Altoona Mirror headquarters as a part of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce’s Enterprise and Faculties Investing in Cooperative Options (BASICS) program. It is a recap of their time spent with Mirror workers and their ideas on journalism.
Judy Rossi, the Blair County Chamber of Commerce’s curriculum improvement committee co-chair, stated the BASICS program started in 2010 as a means to assist college students acquire an up-close have a look at a profession that pursuits them.
As highschool college students need to the longer term career-wise, this system affords them a chance to go to a job website and watch what unfolds, she stated.
Whereas the Mirror has beforehand taken half in this system and hosted college students for the day, this yr college students grew to become a part of the story as they talked about what journalism means to them, they usually additionally went out into the neighborhood to have interaction residents in dialog.
The expertise was considerably eye-opening, as a number of college students stated they needed to make it large within the information trade, maybe with the New York Instances or the Washington Publish. Most journalists begin out in a smaller atmosphere, although, and work their means up as they acquire expertise.
Perception into profession
Jaci Bickel, a senior at Hollidaysburg Space Excessive Faculty, has all the time loved writing and has typically thought-about a profession path in journalism.
With a particular curiosity in politics and wanting her voice to be heard, she stated she puzzled what the every day lifetime of a journalist was like and what the job entailed.
Bickel and the opposite college students stepped into the Mirror’s newsroom, the graphics design division and the print store, which holds the Mirror’s two-story printing press, and witnessed what it takes to place out a every day, printed newspaper.
“We needed perception into what this profession could be like and to actually expertise what it’s wish to work on this trade,” stated Lexi Woodring, a senior at Hollidaysburg, who shadowed within the graphic design division.
Tyrone junior Libby Keller headed to the second ground editorial division to see how the paper is put collectively every day, whereas others fascinated by profession paths as journalists took to the streets to speak with neighborhood members.
The journalist group — which included Bickel in addition to Tyrone junior MacKenzie Hyde and Hollidaysburg junior Ivy Loya — have been tasked with asking on a regular basis folks one easy query: For what are you grateful?
Whereas they at first requested simply the query to a number of folks going about their day, the scholars shortly realized how writing is adaptive and interactive.
Questions of “for what are you grateful” changed into partaking conversations — with an area resident excited for her granddaughter’s engagement, a pair who’re spending the vacations dwelling alone and a first-generation American, who was simply grateful to reside on U.S. soil.
College students discovered that newspapers serve the neighborhood through which they’re situated — from printing “excellent news” resembling weddings, anniversaries, births and neighborhood occasions to “onerous information” resembling court docket happenings, fires, faculty board conferences and tax points.
Bickel stated she thinks the group realized that “a newspaper can’t be self-sufficient. It depends on the folks in the neighborhood.”
She additionally feels a newspaper ought to mirror the pursuits of the neighborhood.
“The neighborhood ought to positively be represented within the paper, particularly with an area paper like this,” Bickel stated of the Mirror.
Whereas Bickel stated her aspirations as a future journalist revolve round politics and opinion sections, she stated the job shadowing alternative confirmed her that it doesn’t matter what path she takes in journalism, the neighborhood ought to all the time come first.
Hyde aspires to be a neighborhood reporter, noting that in Tyrone, “the small-town ambiance is de facto robust, and I like seeing how everybody comes collectively for neighborhood occasions.”
“I used to be all the time fascinated by neighborhood information, and coming into the Mirror, I used to be actually to see how newspapers actually have interaction with their communities,” she stated.
A number of college students have already taken the primary steps of their journalistic careers.
Hyde is the characteristic editor of the Tyrone Eagle Eye Information, a student-led [online?] newspaper at the highschool.
“This has actually helped me solidify that that is what I wish to do,” Hyde stated. “It’s proven actually how a lot I respect journalism and the way a lot I prefer it. I actually wish to do it as a profession.”
Loya has labored on her craft just a little extra privately.
An artwork and music fanatic, she spends a lot of her time writing and expressing her emotions concerning the issues that transfer her in life.
“Journalism has all the time me,” she stated. “I’ve all the time favored to put in writing, and I needed to see what it might be like to put in writing as an precise job. I feel at present (Nov. 17) actually confirmed me how all the things works and what the lifetime of a journalist is definitely like.”
Keller shadowed the editorial division and noticed how the newspaper is checked for spelling, grammar and accuracy.
She then had the prospect to experiment with the design facet of the paper and was proven how all of the tales and photographs are collected and the way pages are created.
“It’s attention-grabbing to see how all the things is finalized and tied collectively,” Keller stated. “It’s actually cool to see how the paper was put collectively.”
Keller is at the moment mulling a level in both English, literature or linguistics, however her finish aim is to grow to be a author in “some capability.”
“I feel journalism is a extremely essential job, and it’s actually attention-grabbing,” she stated.
Woodring noticed the newspaper course of from a special angle within the Mirror’s Advert Heart, the place she noticed how graphic designers take a enterprise’ message and develop advert blocks.
Journalism is just not on the prime of Woodring’s record, together with her objectives aimed extra towards advertising and marketing and communications.
The shadowing occasion on the Mirror, nevertheless, opened her eyes to extra profession decisions.
“It was cool to see that it truly is a wider department of communications and advertising and marketing,” Woodring stated. “It was a neat expertise.”
Grateful for household
After a day of asking members of their neighborhood about what they’re grateful for, the roles for the possible reporters have been reversed and all the scholars have been pressed with the identical query, “for what are you grateful?”
After a tough yr as a result of COVID-19, Keller stated that other than her household, she is most grateful to be again at school to see her lecturers and friends once more.
“I’m actually grateful that I simply have the chance to go to highschool every single day,” Keller stated. “I do know quite a lot of children struggled after we went to digital studying. I personally suppose I benefited from it, however I feel being in-person and seeing all your mates and lecturers helps immensely.”
The power to take part in golf equipment, sports activities and different actions can also be one thing the scholars haven’t taken with no consideration.
“I’m glad and grateful that we will take part in actions once more,” Woodring stated. “Previous to Covid, it’s one thing that you just by no means actually thought would go away.”
A standard theme they discovered throughout interviews earlier within the day — household — was an important worth for which they have been additionally grateful.
Bickel stated she is especially excited to go to her sister, Shelby, in Bellwood for the vacations.
The pair haven’t spent many holidays collectively rising up, however as they’ve grown older, their bond has flourished, and Bickel stated she is trying ahead to creating reminiscences together with her sister and nephew.
“Despite the fact that she lives fairly shut, I’m not in a position to see her too typically,” Bickel stated. “I’m actually excited to have the ability to share this Thanksgiving together with her and her household. She’s a extremely essential a part of my life, and I like seeing her.”
Loya stated she was additionally grateful for her youthful sister, Violet, who has been going through some well being points over the previous yr.
She stated whereas she has been a “stereotypical” older sister up to now, she is planning to take care of her sister and be at her facet this vacation season.
“I’ve realized simply how essential she actually is to me,” Loya stated.
Hyde is grateful for alternatives the previous yr has introduced, as her household simply moved into a brand new home together with her older sister, Brooke.
With having a brand new roof over her head in a greater space of city, Hyde stated she is grateful for the little issues this yr.
“It’s very comforting,” she stated of transferring into a brand new dwelling. “It is going to be good to have everybody underneath the identical roof to have Thanksgiving collectively.”
Mirror Employees Author Calem Illig is at 814-946-7535.
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