Today’s Web-savvy youth communicate and consume news via the Internet and show decreasing interest in print media.
As the digital journalism industry continues to impact the news and information landscape, Hanover High School students are not only opting to embrace the online news trend, they’re leading the charge.
In October, the high school’s recently formed News Club put the printed student newspaper concept on hold and forged a Web-only, student-run news website called The Indian.
The electronic edition is a go-to resource for school news, features, entertainment, opinion and sports. The website is crisp, easy to navigate and chock full of information affecting the student body.
“In this day and age, people are not reading as much on the printed page as they used to. People, and teenagers in particular, spend a lot of time on the Internet,” said The Indian’s website creator and webmaster, junior David Raab. “The website is important so we can cut both publication time and get the word out as fast as possible.”
In recent weeks, the small army of young journalists reported on school-related events and issues including student council happenings, new Phys Ed rules and regulations, and school-wide fundraisers to benefit the American Cancer Society. They also wrote a spotlight on Hanover High School’s girls hockey team, among other items.
But beyond the issues and achievements contained within the school’s four walls, young reporters are casting a wider journalistic net and tackling national and local news, including the recent government shutdown and the town of Hanover’s allocation of funds to repair high school recreational fields.
“I think a student-run news site is important for the Hanover High School student body because it’s the most relatable way to update students on things that are going on everywhere from school, to in town, or even around the world,” said HHS sophomore Andrea Bilton, The Indian’s co-editor-in-chief. “And the fact that we can educate those that we walk alongside in the halls each day is a pretty cool concept.”
Delivering news to peers quickly and in a familiar and relatable format while learning a communications craft is the foundation for the digital-only student news website, editors said.
“I feel as though a student-run news site is important for the student body because it allows students to have a voice,” said HHS senior Matthew Jillett, a co-editor-in-chief, of the benefits of the newly formed news organization. “…This is the first year we’ve been able to run The Indian so our staff is learning more and more about journalism through this club.’
According to staffers and HHS Librarian/News Club Adviser Sue McHugh, the team intends to publish fresh content every two to three weeks, increase photography elements and launch an online poll-taking function.
A future “must have,” staff said, is mobile functionality.
“Teenagers spend most of their time on their Smartphones. Right now, the site does not have a specialized mobile theme,” said Raab. “I want students to be able to get the news delivered straight to their phones as opposed to having to open a Web browser on a Mac or a PC.”
McHugh said the launch of The Indian achieves two important goals: timely information sharing and a long lasting educational experience for the student staff.
“My goal is to help the students create a publication that informs and entertains its audience and is something they can be proud of,” McHugh said. “And I would like to help (the staff) develop their writing and communication skills as well as gain experience in organization, time management and collaborating with others.”
Currently, the News Club has 14 members with Raab serving as news director. Kayla Garity, a junior, serves as features and entertainment editor while senior Marijke Fulton serves as opinion editor.
For Fulton and others in the News Club, The Indian is far more than a vehicle to share timely news with peers. It is a springboard into a journalism career.
“I would love to go into journalism,” Fulton said. “The whole concept of writing about important events or opinions and delivering it is something amazing.”