KINGSBURG – For as much history as the Kingsburg High student newspaper “Viking Voice” has on campus, the current student reporters say it is still a work in progress that’s evolving as technology changes.
“We went to full color this year. That was a big decision,” Kelsey Olson said. She serves as a co-editor with Shareen Purewal. Their adviser is Joelle Bruce.
After attending the Washington Journalism and Media Conference at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, this past summer, Olson said she learned that presentation was crucial for advancing their student publication.
“We decided that printing less, but in color, would be a better move. We also have a fully-digital copy, too. I learned how to do that,” she said of using Adobe Acrobat and InDesign to not only digitally design their publication, but to also upload it to the school’s website so readers can flip through the pages digitally.
So while the publication may now be tabloid sized and printed only every three months, they’re hoping quality compensates for quantity as they learn about interviewing, writing and journalism ethics along with modern design and publication techniques.
Ironically, the oldest edition the Viking staff has in their morgue, or file of previously published editions, is dated Nov. 1, 1927. It’s Volume III and edition No. 5, thus the newspaper had only been in existence for a few years at that point.
In one story below the fold, the headline reads “A New Staff Elected for Viking News.” The subhead reads, “New Staff Will Endeavor to Improve Viking News.” Eric Jewell had been elected as editor.
Olson said since it is a high school publication, seniors graduate each year and incoming freshmen or sophomores take their place. Also, a scheduling conflict has led to many of their more experienced writers moving on to other classes.
“Last year, we had six editors - one for opinion, features, news and sports - but now it’s just me. This period used to be at the end of the day, not when there are a lot of honors and AP courses. Now, it’s during the AP calculus class and a lot of kids are taking the CNA nursing classes,” she said. Since most of their staff are freshmen with a few juniors, that too lead to the decision to downsize the number of pages published.
Olson said while it may be stressful as deadlines loom, she enjoys being a crucial part of the flow of information on campus.
“I began in eighth grade, too, and really just enjoy writing. I found out that I really like being a little bossy. I like to have organization. I mean, I get stressed out a lot, but I really do enjoy the final copy.
This is the first all-color newspaper Kingsburg High has ever put out. And it’s digital,” she said of this modern full-color edition.
She did some production trouble-shooting after the first edition, she said and is pleased with the post-production results.
“I learned that the way it printed wasn’t looking right. I learned to do Photoshop so I could edit pictures and learned how to make colors look better.”
In comparing the 1927 edition to the most recent “Viking Voice” Issue 2 of Volume 89, there are some similarities. There’s still a masthead, or banner, that features a Viking mascot and newspaper’s name across the top, but the historic edition has no photos on the entire front page. The headlines are in all capital letters and sports seem to take priority as the top three lead stories are about football and volleyball. Other stories give reports on a student body meeting, father-son banquet and Halloween party. A joke used as filler takes a light-hearted jab at freshmen.
The current edition has more of a magazine-style design on the front with sports - a girl’s water polo championship - as the main story. News, opinion, features and sports stories are promoted with photos and cover lines along the bottom.
So while some things stay the same, many aspects of journalism are changing. Students now use digital cameras, type their articles using computers and laptops and format the pages digitally.
“I pretty much format it all. Then we have it published at Mid-Valley Publishing,” Olson said.
Olson said she sees journalism’s role in a society as still largely the same as well.
“I see journalism as a check in the balance of power. It’s not often included in the government model, but we really are going back to the muck-rucking time when they were exposing the practices of companies,” she said of the pre-World War I reporters who exposed political and economic corruption during the United States’ rapid industrialization.
Olson realizes many don’t trust journalism’s role, but said if she were to work as journalist someday, she’d endeavor to change that.
“I really do see journalism as being that now. It’s just skewed. I see it more as just speaking or as people who enjoy writing or being involved in everything going on.”
And while most don’t realize all the different staff members it still takes to produce a newspaper, Olson said she’s gained an insider’s view on the entire process that makes her value the written word that much more.
“People don’t realize how many jobs go into making a newspaper. You can have graphic designers, you can have writers, you can have editors and you can have photographers. It’s definitely mass communication and something I really enjoy. I can sit for a long time and read a story in the paper, but I also see it in magazines like National Geographic. It’s not just a picture book, that’s journalism. People don’t realize that. Journalism is just kind of everywhere.”
The journalism students for the past three to four years have also been conducting interviews with KHS alumni that are now featured as “Viking Valor” stories on the school’s website.
“We wanted to encourage our students to be able to interact with past Vikings and promote how many great people we have coming out of the school,” Bruce said. “We have so many past Vikings that contribute to the community who have done really inspirational things that need to be highlighted. It shows students the possibilities of what they can be.”
The series can be read online at http://kingsburghigh.com/maxine-olson/
Olson wrote about Weston Anderson, a Class of 1946 Viking who aided in the development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging technology. He was later awarded a Nobel Prize in chemistry. Here is her story: