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Advanced journalists look back at a school year of noteworthy experiences

By Jacob Kahn-Samuelson and Maxwell Taniguchi-King

Staff Editors

Between traveling to Redwood City to visit Summit Everest and Prep and visiting the Spartan Daily (San Jose State’s school newspaper), the journalism program at Summit Tahoma has had a profound influence on the students and teachers at the school. This year in Advanced Multimedia Political Journalism the students have written about an array of topics and have developed as self-guided reporters.

See below for the student editors’ perspective on the AMPJ course:

Colleen Bateman, a senior at Summit Tahoma, served as the Tahoma Editor-in-Chief of Summit News. She and her fellow AMPJ peers answered a few questions regarding their experiences from this Expeditions class. Bateman talked about the highlight of the past year: “My highlight has been the story that my team and I did on how well Summit prepares you for college. And the reason that was the highlight was because we came up with the idea within a 20-minute meeting pitch and then we just ran with it.” Bateman has written about: Students advocating for acting class, A drama teacher defends her craft, The impact of losing the arts, Public schools and their relationship with religion, The school volleyball team, The arts at the Celebration of Learning, Sociology of Law, Photography, Zoe Lofgren visiting Summit, How Summit prepares students for college and Google’s downtown campus proposal.

Justin Butera is one of the Tahoma Webmasters who has worked with the AMPJ students. One example would be when he collaborated with them to help create the interactive design for the aforementioned story about How Summit prepares students for college.

William Butler, the Tahoma Sports Editor for Summit News, responded to the questions posed to him about AMPJ. Butler talked about the influence Liz DeOrnellas, the journalism adviser, has had on him as a reporter: “She’s an amazing person; she’s helped me since my freshman year … She helped guide me; she’s like, ‘Maybe this could be better, you could do this to get a better angle.’ She’s been very helpful through the process of my three years in journalism, and she’s been a big influence.” Butler has written about: Wellness and Movement’s impact on Summit, Senior night, How Summit prepares students for college and Google’s downtown campus proposal.

Although he was not mentioned in the video, Jacob Kahn-Samuelson has improved a lot as a reporter in the role of Tahoma City Editor for Summit News. Kahn-Samuelson has written about: Advanced Acting, DACA, San Jose housing, How Summit prepares students for college and The Trump Russia investigation.

Matthew Michelsen, another Webmaster at Tahoma, has supported Tahoma students throughout the year. Like Butera, Michelsen helped the AMPJ students create the interactive design for How Summit prepares students for college.

Nethan Sivarapu, also not mentioned in the video, is the Tahoma Multimedia Editor for Summit News. Sivarapu has learned more about journalism through AMPJ and has written about: Citizen views on street art, Summit’s learning platform, Advanced drama at rainier, How Summit prepares students for college and Students’ roles in midterm elections.

As Tahoma Multimedia Editor for Summit News, Maxwell Taniguchi-King talked about his experience and growth this past year in AMPJ. When asked about his growth, he said, “I think I’ve grown through understanding the story better; it is not just how good a video looks and how many big words you use in an article.” Taniguchi-King has written about: Refugees’ sense of community, Citizens’ views on street art, How Summit prepares students for college and An art teacher’s passion for Visual Arts,

Ms. DeOrnellas is proud of her students’ growth as reporters and their development as writers. She spoke about what she has enjoyed the most in this past year in AMPJ: “I think I was impressed with the complexity of what we’ve been able to accomplish and the speed at which we’ve been able to accomplish those stories. I think my students have become much more efficient at interviewing and writing and video editing on deadlines, which is great.”

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