Journalism class returns to Spearfish

November 29, 2018

SPEARFISH — Journalism has returned as a class at Spearfish High School. English teacher Alyssa Walters is now teaching a class about journalism at Spearfish High School.

“It’s a great course for students. It’s real-life hands-on experience,” Walters said when asked about the course. “It’s the best way to teach things like yearbook and photojournalism and news writing and teaching how to look at the news from a consumer and writer standpoints.”

Spearfish High School wanted to hire someone who had training in education, communications and also someone who had a background in high school journalism. Walters with all of these skills was selected for the job.

“It goes in depth into writing and journalism. The technical aspects of it all, and the photo aspects of it all. It is a good opportunity for our generation to get used to print and online aspects of journalism,” said senior Anna Kapust.

This course looks at the fundamentals of journalism, including ethics and laws that surround journalism and consumers of journalism. It also focuses on creating and publishing the school’s yearbook with a good of publishing a newspaper that’s either online or in print.

“We are still trying to work out those details but our hope is to definitely add a newspaper in some way to the curriculum as soon as possible,” Walters said.

Walters wants her students to have an appreciation for what other people are experiencing and not being afraid to tell that story.

“We may have a student who is participating in an activity outside of the school and we want to tell that story,” Walters said.

Walters said she hopes that her students will not be afraid to ask question in not only journalism and life but in their other courses as well.

“Learning to ask questions like, ‘how does this math equation work the way that it does’, this will hopefully enable them to ask more questions and dig deeper into their classes,” she said.

Assignments include photography and writing assignments, sports and feature writing, layout and design and investigative writing in the near future.

“I want students to be able to investigate things and to write about they investigated from an unbiased perspective and to tell a story,” she says.

Walters hopes that in the future she can introduce broadcasting when she has the means to do so.

“I really enjoy the class. It gives a pretty solid taste of being a journalist is like. A better understanding of photography. A better insight to caption writing, and the ability to have better interviewing skills,” said Tanner Walkins, a sophomore at Spearfish High School.

Being a yearbook course as well, it is very important to developing the classes and it makes learning the layouts, feature writing and photography.

“I want students who purchase a yearbook to look back on their year with great memories and have it be sort of a time capsule for the future,” she said.

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