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Feather staff spreads awareness about First Amendment freedoms, rights

The annual Scholastic Journalism Week has come to an end, and with it, one of the most action-packed weeks of the year, Feb. 17-23. With this year’s theme of ‘Dedicated to Our Communities’, Feather staffers wrote articles, added photos, videos and social media posts that related to @ScholasticJWeek’s #SJW2019 Twitter feed. In addition to these articles, The Feather staff put on lunchtime activities for the student body and attended community events.

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Feather staff meets with ABC30 Assistant News Director Jim Jakobs and producer April Ghan in The Feather lab, Feb. 19.

Beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 18, Feather staffers received a morning visit from two of the producers on the ABC30 news team, campus alumna and producer April Ghan , ’92, and Assistant News Director Jim Jakobs. This visit coincided with the SJW social media tag of the day, #RealNews.

Editor-in-chief of The Feather, Sam Cross, ’19, values the journalists’ visit to the campus.

“The staff really benefited from listening to the ABC30 media professionals,” Cross said. “As student journalists we still have much to learn from our professional counterparts and I appreciate their willingness to invest in the next generation of storytellers.”

The aim of the visit was to provide the team with stories of personal experience in the journalism world. A main lesson taught by Jakobs was to check your sources when getting information because of the difficulty in filtering between real and fake news.

The next event of the day included a chapel led by The Feather staff. Advisers Kori Friesen and Greg Stobbe explained the benefits of The Feather and what the rest of the year holds. The chapel aimed to encourage the student body to participate in the weeks events and engage with The Feather team. 

Although not on The Feather, Caleigh Alday, ’21, recognizes the impact of Scholastic Journalism Week, and appreciates the increased student body involvement.

I learned a lot from my friends that are on The Feather,” Alday said. “I learned how social media can develop a different story and how they can produce that online and how far you can take something that seems so little. I was really excited because it’s just one of those weeks where there is a lot more student involvement. I feel that it’s really important to the school so that we’re connected in one way or the other no matter what are strengths are. And through that we can take and credit what journalism is really about.”

Later in the day, senior editor Addison Schultz, ‘21, and three media staff traveled to interview Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer in his downtown Fresno office. This interview was part of an upcoming Feather video that will be shown at the annual FC auction, March 9.

In the following podcast Addison Schultz discusses her experience interviewing the Fresno Police Chief and Mayor Lee Brand.

This was the third of four major interviews for Schultz during the week, the next one taking place the following day featuring Fresno Mayor Lee Brand. During the interview process, Schultz recognized how the two local leaders have become so dedicated to their communities.

“They are connected with the people of our community,” Schultz said. “They’re willing to be involved and I saw, especially from the mayor, they have a big vision for what they want our city to become and they invest a lot into the future of our city. They don’t  just care about now but where Fresno is going. They care a lot about the youth because they see them as the next generation of our city.”

While school was out for President’s Day on Monday, Feb. 18, The Feather hosted two members of Fresno’s ABC30, Feb. 19, to kickoff the week’s #SJW2019 celebrations.

Starting Wednesday, junior high and high school office manager Michelle Logan took over The Feather’s Instagram stories. Throughout the day, Logan shared her routine and important moments in her eight hours. Spanish teacher Rachel Rodriguez took over Instagram stories Thursday, showing snippets of her class.

Video journalist, Austin Peterson, ’22, cherishes the opportunity to share The Feather’s hard work throughout the year.

“It gave The Feather an opportunity to brand our name and get ourselves out there,” Peterson said, “instead of just sitting here in the shadows and maybe every once in a while getting some attention. But that allowed us to bring more to our school and our students, and I feel that I learned how to advertise more.”

Lastly while Feather staffers visited Fresno City College’s Journalism Day on Friday, cheer and P.E. coach Hope Villines took over the stories to show her classes and routine.

Journalism professor and organizer of the FCC Journalism Day, Dympna Ugwu-Oju, uses the journalism day to inspire students to pursue journalism.

“We continue to have them because we have an interest in promoting interest in the field of journalism,” Ugwu-Oju said. “We want these young people to meet media practitioners and listen to their experiences and be inspired by their experience here.  We also want participants to see the journalism program at FCC as an option when they make their college choices.”

Early during Scholastic Journalism Week, Feather reporter Bryce Foshee interviews New York Times David Pogue at the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall in the following tweet, Feb. 19.

The Feather journalist, Annabelle Messer, ’20, applauds the variety of workshops offered during the journalism day.

“I went to a photography class,” Messer said, “and the lady instructing the class talked about how she got into photography and her life. She talked about how photography can take you many places. And using a camera can take you around the world. So it was interesting to hear a different perspective.”

Also on Wednesday, journalist Bryce Foshee, ’21, arrived at San Joaquin Valley Town Hall to talk with The NY Times columnist, correspondent on CBS Sunday Morning and bestselling tech author David Pogue about the new role of technology in our world. Read Foshee’s article, David Pogue lectures on today’s technology at SJV Town Hall for more information.

Alday also appreciates The Feather’s reliable coverage and the quality of it’s content.

The Feather is important,” Alday said, “because one of my main platforms is Instagram and I know that if something is going on, they will post it immediately. They are really good with that so I think that’s really awesome. I think that’s really important because sometimes people get the wrong information, so The Feather is real, it’s not fake and it’s not false. I really appreciate that we have that at the school.”

During Thursday’s activities, the focal point of the day was the First Amendment five freedoms/rights during a lunch competition. This event again paired with the daily social media tag, #SavingDemocracy. It tested students on their knowledge of the rights granted by the First Amendment. Earlier, the students watched a video that videographer Ethan Hamm created after asking students “Do you know your First Amendment freedoms?”

Coming from Africa, Levi Sumbela was excited for this years Scholastic Journalism Week and learnt for the first time about the First Amendment.

“Since I am from Africa,” Sumbela said, “I didn’t really know about any amendment, but now I know about the First Amendment because of The Feather, so I am really grateful for that. In Africa it is very different, so it was interesting to learn about the First Amendment.”

If the five freedoms could be written in under 20 seconds, the student names were entered into a drawing for one of four $10 Starbucks gift cards. Trivia questions centered around The Feather also provided students a way to enter the drawing.

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

The Feather staff also interviewed Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer during the annual Scholastic Journalism Week.

For some student and staff members, this was their first Scholastic Journalism Week. However, Bible teacher and vice principal Scott Falk experienced the week  during his previous time at Fresno Christian. Falk recalls how the event was similar to now and why it’s great to get students involved.

“It seems like it was very similar to now,” Falk said. “However, now it seems like there is more awareness for it. I think it’s a great opportunity for our students. It’s a great chance to showcase what we do here at Fresno Christian and to see what other schools are doing as well.”

The week concluded with a trip to the third annual Fresno City College High School Journalism Day conference at Fresno City College, Feb. 22. This conference featured over 40 speakers and classes taught by area media professionals that specialize in various forms of journalism. Over 350 students from 10 high schools were represented at the event.

In the following Tweet, senior editor Addison Schultz is interviewing media professionals during the FCC high school Journalism Day, Feb. 22.

Once again, this unique week of high school journalism comes to a close and things look to return to normal. Later in the semester, The Feather staff will head to Anaheim, Calif., for the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention

In the following video, junior Braden Bell captures some of the moments from the 3rd annual Fresno City College High School Journalism Day, Feb. 22.

For more articles, read Student voices in private schools and National Scholastic Journalism Week: Saving Democracy.

This author can be reached via Twitter: @KyleClem5 and via e-mail.

Below is a slideshow of Scholastic Journalism Week, Feb. 19-22.

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