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SJW helps bring together FC students

Feather Staff | The Feather Online

The Feather Online won a Pacemaker award in Los Angeles in 2016.

Scholastic Journalism Week is a week dedicated help journalists spread awareness. This year’s theme was, ‘Communities We Cover.’ Throughout the week, The Feather had many ways of trying to engage the students at FC.

There included a contest of who could name the five basic freedoms given to Americans through the First Amendment. There was a prize for whoever left the most comments and who was most engaged with the social media platforms.

Staff members encouraged other students to become backpack journalists and to take pictures of anything that appeared newsworthy happening around campus that was not known by The Feather staff. For The Feather Online, it is not only a time to help engage the students at Fresno Christian and to demonstrate to the National Scholastic Press Association its commitment to engaging students both on and off campus.

The NSPA is a non-profit association that provides students, teachers and advisers with journalism education. They will host an annual JEA/NSPA journalism convention which will be located in Seattle, Washington, this year, April 6-9. The Feather traveled to Los Angeles last year and came home with a Pacemaker award. 

At the beginning of January, The Feather received the NSPA’s critique on the paper. While there were many positive notes, there were some glaring issues. The biggest one being the lack of hard, breaking news. The Feather staff took these critiques into consideration and focused on improving these areas of the paper. 

Editor in chief, Phillip Christopher, ’17, appreciated the NSPA critique because he thought that it was a good way of seeing where The Feather stood as a newspaper.

“I thought that the critique was good for our paper,” Christopher said. “It showed us what our weaknesses were and what we need to work on. I’m confident we can change for the better and hopefully win another Pacemaker award.”

The Feather was graded on five different categories. A perfect score of 1000 was received on the categories, “Interactivity & Community” and “Design & Navigation,” and a perfect score of 500 was received for, “Rich Media.” A score of 850 was given for the category of, “Coverage & Content.” For the final category, The Feather received a score of 350 for, “Breaking News.” The paper received a total score of 3,770 points but failed to win the rating of “All-American,” an honor that The Feather had achieved the last six years. 

Judge John Molene thought that The Feather’s ability to engage the reader was outstanding. The glaring issue that he stated multiple times was the lack of the breaking news. As he went deeper into the paper, he started to become more and more impressed. Navigation was easy and the look of The Feather was among the top of online papers. 

Feather Staff | The Feather Online

The Feather has shifted its view and is trying to incorporate more breaking news into the paper.

By starting a new semester off fresh with the critiques in mind, The Feather’s focal point shifted. The desire to find quality news throughout the school became the main objective. The paper sought to find news pieces that anyone within the community could relate to and specifically pieces that had a tie into Fresno Christian.

Since the beginning of the second semester, staff members have had the opportunity to talk to many different people such as, the newly elected Fresno Mayor Lee Brand and evangelists Luis and Andrew Palau

The Feather has stayed up date with campus news and updates scores from sports games.

There have also been changes in the classroom when it comes to journalism. Once an article has been assigned, a due date is also assigned with it, making it easier to publish articles. Every article must include some tie into the school or community. Articles that have a communal focus point are on top of the list.

As the school year is already half way over, there is not much more time to impress the judges of the NSPA. The Feather will be headed to the first competition of the year, traveling to New York to receive another CSPA Crown, March 11-18. It is still undetermined on whether it will be a Silver or Gold Crown. The Feather is still waiting to see if they are a finalist for a Pacemaker award.

Check back to The Feather for more updates. For another article, read: Column: Journalism as a freshman

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @_NickLeBlanc and via email: Nick LeBlanc

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