How to Survive and Thrive in Journalism

By Karen Cherkas ’16 and Aiden Rodriguez ’16

Written by students for 72 years, Argus staff publishes nine issues throughout the school year. With summer break creeping up on us, journalism classes are winding down with their last articles. Ms. Catherine Kaczmarek, a talented adviser for 26 years, teaches the two-semester Journalism course. 
Hornets who get into this class will be taught various things about newspapers to write effectively for Argus. Along with knowledge about journalism, you’ll come out knowing more grammar and vocabulary, which may help abundantly on the SAT, Regents and in college. 

Journalism is a necessary class to have in the school because without journalism, we would not have Argus. 
“Argus is very helpful. It tells us what happens inside and outside of school; especially with our school size, it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on,” said Karen Salantandre ’16. “It allows me to catch up on whatever I’ve missed out and sets me back on track.”

It’s easy to get lost in the various activities and workload that our school offers. However, when Argus gets published, you can read through it and catch up on the news, sports, clubs, and activities in a matter of ten minutes. 
Mark DelaPeña ’17 said, “I like Argus because it combines all of what’s going on in the school into a compact newspaper.” 
One of the first things we learned in class was the ethics of journalism. There are many aspects of ethics like not making up quotes, not plagiarizing, not giving false information known as libel and more. 

We also learn about how to write many different types of articles such as editorials (opinion pieces), features, profiles (articles on focused on a specific person, group, or club), sports, and news articles. We learn how to write headlines, leads, captions. Before we submit our final drafts every month, we edit each other’s articles, which is good practice for becoming an editor senior year. Senior editors are responsible for editing the final drafts and for putting the actual paper together. 

“What I like about this class is the fact that the class helps you develop many new skills you won’t learn in a regular class such as analyzing articles and many aspects of a newspaper,” said Jesus Patino ’16, a journalism student.

However, journalism isn’t as easy as it seems. It’s not just taking notes and writing about events. You have to pay close attention to what we discuss in class and know how to implement it in your articles to make them better. What you learn in September can’t slip your mind a few months later because everything you learn in this class will be used again when writing every article. 

“Getting your articles published makes you feel accomplished because there are so many aspects that you have to take into account such as interviews, using the active tense, formatting your article properly and more,” said Kimberly Ho ’16.

Online Editor, Mohammed Hasan ’15 said, “The difficult part of journalism was the effort one had to put in to write an article that others would find interesting.”

Staying on top of your work is an essential part because practicing what you learned in class and familiarizing yourself with newspapers will also help you do well in this class. 

“Stay on top of your work and don’t have a negative attitude. Even though it’s a lot of work it’ll all be worth it in the end,” said Deanna Tairi ’16.

For the student who will be taking journalism next year, you will be doing a lot of work in class, but it never gets boring. If you really like journalism, you’ll always find something interesting to learn in this class. During the middle of the year it may feel tiring and repetitive, but everything you do in this class helps us become better writers, interviewers, and journalists. Many people even apply to become senior editors! 

Hasan said, “I chose to be an editor because I was passionate about revising articles and about obtaining a preview of the articles the juniors wrote about.”

Helen Tang ’16 said, “I put journalism as my first choice sophomore year but ended up getting into AP English Language and Composition, and I was upset for a while. I wish journalism was open for seniors as well.”
  Argus is by the students for the students. We welcome your contributions anytime! If you would like to work on it even though you’re not in the class, feel free to see Ms. Kaczmarek in room 343. Check out our website, midwoodargus.org if you miss an issue or want to read back on past issues.

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