When folks discover their artistic passions and pursuits early in life, then their lives are never short of sunshine. And even during the darkest of days, it is this shine that brings the light.
This spring, the staff of a local newspaper has published their debut edition remotely; proving the edict that, regardless of the problems and travails of the day, the press must go on, the paper must go out, the news must be delivered. Furthermore, this particular staff learned this lesson before graduation–not from journalism school, but from elementary school.
The WES Tiger Times is a publication of the Westside Elementary School Newspaper Club, under the direction of Westside teacher Emily Joswick. The newspaper’s editorial staff consists of Shelby Marshall, Kayden Garey, Gabriel Sullivan, Adrienne Ross, Conner Lumpkin, Mackenzie Cochrane, and Day’ani Graham.
“The paper was created mainly remotely, however we did have some in-person meets at school in February and March before school closed,” Joswick explained. “The in-person meets were only twice a month and were mainly used for teaching the kids how to use Google Drive, as the students completed their articles almost completely from home and then either emailed them to me or uploaded them to a shared Google Drive!”
So aside from learning journalism skills, students got a crash course in computer technology; using the same programs that many of their parents are using to complete their day to day office work remotely from home.
“The use of Google Drives made it very simple for students to write their articles and share it with me from their homes,” said Joswick. “After receiving their first draft, it was easy for me to access it anytime, make comments/edit it, and send it back to them.”
The production of this digital edition also proved a learning experience for the teacher who oversaw the project. “This is my second year teaching, and my first year running the Newspaper Club,” said Joswick. “It has been a learning experience, but with Google Drives, Publisher, and some help from co-workers, it was much easier to put the
paper together than I thought!”
The debut edition of the WES Tiger Times, volume 1, issue 1, is a full-color, four-page newspaper that features news (in the form of informative articles detailing test-taking tips and a handwashing tutorial), a movie review of the 2018 feature Peter Rabbit, a breakfast recipe, riddles and puns, and a puzzle page. The student staff of the Tiger Times takes pride in their work.
“It was fun to make and edit!” said Conner Lumpkin.
Mackenzie Cochrane said, “I liked writing about a recipe that kids at school could make in the morning before the bus.”
Then, just prior to the release of the debut Tiger Times, the bus stopped coming. In the interest of protecting students and staff against the possible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hernando schools closed. Undaunted, the Tiger Times staff found a way to get their news to the public.
“When school closed and I was unable to print a copy of the paper, I thought putting it on the school’s Facebook digitally would be the best way to get the kid’s hard work out there,” said Joswick.
The premiere issue of the WES Tiger Times hit the virtual newsstand April 16, when the newspaper appeared via a post in the Westside Elementary Facebook page.
“Now, I think I might be putting the paper out completely digitally on the page from now on,” said Joswick. “It is easy to save, upload and reach a wider audience!”
Ultimately, says Joswick, this is all about the kids.
“After the kids worked so hard, I wanted their work to get out there,” she said, “for them to see the finished product and be proud of it.”
Take pride in your sunshine! Send your good news, pictures and announcements to Hernando Sun community reporter Megan Hussey at [email protected]. Show us your ‘sun’shine!