By Evelyn Archibald
A typical day in Shasta’s Expeditions rounds would show you teachers and students across campus dedicating themselves to a deep dive into their respective elective subjects. You might see students from Bike Shop tinkering with gears and brakes or riding in the quad, watch a group of Intro to Visual Arts students sketching and experimenting with new mediums, taste a delicious hot meal in Advanced Cooking, or sit in on a socratic seminar about social ethics in International Human Rights.
You might also spy the small group of students who report on these happenings and those of the local community: the Shasta news team.
Summit Shasta, one of five Summit schools that have an active journalism program led by Expeditions Teacher Elizabeth DeOrnellas, offers the Advanced Multimedia Political Journalism course, which this year consists of eight core members. The students work on an independent study contract, and their daily activities are supervised by the Editors-in-Chief: Shasta senior Zack Navarra and Shasta sophomore Evelyn Archibald, with Ms. DeOrnellas providing remote check-ins as necessary. Most of the students took a previous course last year with Ms. DeOrnellas, which focused on the basics of journalism, multimedia reporting and media ethics. All of these skills are exercised in the advanced course, as well as being able to self-regulate and to maintain professional conduct.
Looking into the journalism class, Mytrisha Sarmiento (Staff Editor, Business Manager, Shasta sophomore) might be preparing to go into the field reporting on homelessness in San Francisco, or Ben Alexander (Political Opinion Columnist, Shasta senior) could be researching the latest national news for The Student Informer. Michael Mac Callum (Staff Editor, Managing Editor, Shasta senior) and Melissa Domingo (Arts Editor, Shasta sophomore) might be working on a movie review or a feature article on a group of students on campus. Ethaniel Reyes and Albert Chang-Yoo (Staff Editors, Shasta juniors) might be found interviewing sources for a co-written story about the impact of vape culture at Shasta.
The students follow a journalism production process throughout each round – starting with a planning phase that consists of brainstorming, scheduling interviews, and writing up day-to-day plans for the coming two weeks. The reporting phase is where the most time is spent; this is what you picture when you think “journalist.” Students start interviews, get photo and video footage, research and re-research, and follow-up with sources.
The reporting phase is also where the most obstacles come up. Interviews fall through, research is less substantial than planned, footage comes out unusable, and sometimes a story takes a completely unexpected turn. One valuable skill the students come to be familiar with in this part of the process is thinking on one’s feet.
The last two parts of this process, writing and editing, are where the piece comes to life. This usually takes place in the second week of the round, after students have spent the first week gathering material and footage and have organized their ideas. Now, the work is getting it onto the page, communicating the angle of the piece, and making sure everything is tied together. Carefully editing videos, writing several drafts, double checking your information and selecting the best photos all come into play as a piece is finalized.
Once everything is finished, it’s time to get the piece out there and publish it. All of the team’s finished articles are on this site, as well as the other Summit journalism classes’ work. Look around!
Click the image below to see a video of the Summit News team in action: