For a newspaper to work, a lot of things have to go right. Writers, editors, and photographers have to work together. Interviews, articles, and photos have to meet deadlines. To sum up the process in one phase, timing is everything. It’s that study of newspapers that makes Journalism and Media Literacy a popular class year after year at ORRHS. Taught by Bertrand Allain, who primarily teaches English for sophomores, the class intertwines information about the newspaper industry with an examination of the media at large. Students spend most classes working on interviews and writing articles for the Paw Prints publication, which prints six issues per school year. For this article, Allain, Editor-in-Chief Kate Cunningham, and fellow senior Gwen Plante shared their thoughts on ORR’s student publication.
The best part of Allain’s role as an advisor to the paper, in his words, is “watching students take full ownership of the journalistic process.”
This is Mr. Allain’s third year as the advisor to Paw Prints, and he really enjoys the position. His favorite thing to see in a student writer is comprehension of the interview process. “I like when it’s clear that a student has learned the value of a good interview. When they master that, the student can do any type of Journalism in the future,” he explained.
One of his goals for the future is to see the newspaper focus on covering the issues of greatest importance to the student body.
Plante stepped into Journalism class this year and took on a big role by becoming editor of the news section. “[Journalism] helped open my mind to a new world,” she said. “It helped that Mr. Allain was really easygoing about it.”
The best part about journalism, in her opinion, is that “you get to choose what you want to write. I’m the news editor, but I don’t always have to write a news article,” Plante said.
Most of all, the journalism experience will prepare her for next year as a college freshman, where she is considering studying photojournalism.
Cunningham edited the paper’s sports section in her junior year, and assumed the title of editor-in-chief for her senior year. Last year, the paper’s sports section earned an award from Suffolk University’s High School Journalism Conference, marking a major achievement for Cunningham.
Describing her position, she said, “It’s a lot of work, but it’s all worth it as soon as I see it in print.”
Cunningham’s main duties are editing the articles for each issue of the newspaper and formatting them, along with the photos, into a cohesive publication.
She also writes stories for the paper, mostly in the News and Special Features sections. “I have to handle my time efficiently,” she said. “My main priority is getting the paper out for the student body.”
Cunningham said her overall goal is to work for a newspaper while living in New York City. “The experience I have received here will prepare me for something like that,” she said.
It’s been a very successful year for Paw Prints. Five issues have been released thus far, with the most recent being released on Thursday, April 16, in celebration of the Boys’ Basketball Team’s title run. A sixth issue is being prepped for May, with a focus on senior farewells. Thanks to the guidance of Mr. Allain, the hard work of Cunningham, and the quick adaptations made by section editors like Plante, Paw Prints continues to thrive as a major part of ORR student culture.
By Patrick Briand