After long year of work in quarantine, student journalists look back


Itzel Luna and Parampreet Aulakh

Student journalists have been working in quarantine for over a year now and as the spring semester comes to an end, Editor-in-Chiefs Itzel Luna and Parampreet Aulakh look back on all of their difficulties and accomplishments.

As this unconventional and extraordinary school year comes to an end, our staff has surpassed our expectations, managing to produce strong journalistic work despite the difficulties posed by distance learning. 

We began reporting this school year under extreme uncertainty, not knowing whether we would be returning to campus or not. It quickly became clear that we would have to grow accustomed to reporting remotely. 

In the beginning, we found it difficult to not only manage everyone but build bonds within the staff. Around half of us were new to staff this year, meaning that we had never worked together in person before. It was hard for our staff to pitch and write stories and find the motivation to do so during such an exhausting year. However, our staff was resilient, reporting on hard-hitting events like the Black Lives Matter protests, the Defund the School Police movement, and the 2020 Presidential election.  

Despite having to work remotely all year, our staff was still able to produce five magazine issues. We produced a diverse array of coverage, which was an important goal for us. The magazine cover for our November 2020 issue was even given an Honorable Mention in the National Student Press Association Clips and Clicks competition in the “Design: Magazine Cover category.” 

A bigger focus was placed on our online content as many stories would lose relevance by the time we released an issue of the magazine. The initial goal we had was to have new content for the website on a daily basis but early on, it became apparent that it wasn’t going to be realistic. Some sections would go weeks without content at times and most of that can be attributed to the usual on-campus workflow being disrupted by being remote.

The website did receive some cosmetic updates as the header was updated to include photos that were more recent. Some tabs were removed from the website due to us not being able to update them during the pandemic. We made slight changes to the layout of certain sections on the homepage that helped push sections with the most content toward the top. 

All of these minor changes culminated in our website receiving 8th place in Best of Show at the Fall JEA/NSPA High School Journalism Convention. The quality of content that was being put on the website was still great for the most part and a number of our stories were selected Best of SNO during the course of the year. 

The past year hasn’t really been an ideal environment for the staff to produce their best work but we are proud of the perseverance and dedication it took to reach this point. In spite of all the challenges we have faced, we were able to tell some truly amazing stories.

As the world hopefully returns to some sense of normalcy by this upcoming school year, we want to wish the incoming staff good luck. We are honored to have been a part of this publication for the last three years.