By Felicia M.
During the fourth and final block each day, a cluster of about twenty grade 9 students file into Ms. May’s Journalism class. They all take their seats at their normal desks, remove their computers from bags and laptop cases, and await the day’s instruction. In their work block, students are planning for the latest issue of the Westmount Wire to be released. In this room, every student writes, draws, interviews, edits, and creates everything that goes into what you see in the Wire.
An average day looks like a free period for students to work on their contributions to the paper. Everyone is required to write at least one article for each issue that is put out, and many do extra tasks for bonus marks. Some opportunities for extra credit involve drawing comics, going very far in depth with research/interviews, making word searches or crosswords, or a few extra assignments that Ms. May wants in the paper. Normally the class is quite noisy, with students socializing as they work (or sometimes just socializing).
The class is always alive with a hub of students brainstorming, writing, and editing each other’s work. There are always some funny typos that people miss during their own processes, which make for some good laughs. Of course, everyone in the class is supportive of their classmates, and they all help each other brainstorm and write. Here is a look into the process that goes into every issue of the Wire.
After each issue of the Wire is released, the class has a collective brainstorming session to come up with new ideas for the next release. Everyone brainstorms a few ideas for each different section of the website, and students have the opportunity to claim articles that they’re interested on a first-come-first-serve basis. If articles are left unclaimed, people can use the ideas, or come up with a new one of their own.
Next, the writing process begins. Each student starts with the research and planning necessary to put their articles together, then they start writing. Depending on the article, each process varies. For example, editorials normally involve a bit more sarcasm, informative articles tend to lean towards the more serious side, while advice and DIY articles are normally pretty casual. No matter what, the process always ends with a high quality rough draft yet to be edited.
It is required that each student gets at least two peer edits and make all necessary changes to their article before they get to hand in two edited copies and the final copy. These go to Mrs. May for her final read through and grading process. If there are any glaring errors missed, she’ll point them out and they will be changed. They add their final touches to the article based on that, and send their articles in to be added to the Wire.
Each amateur journalist submits their articles to one of four students. These students post each student’s contributions onto the website, put them in the right categories, and tag them so that they can be shared with readers. This was a fairly frustrating process at first, because they noticed quickly that you can’t get pictures off of Google Docs (include the link or an attachment instead), giving photo credits to other sources takes a while, and chasing people down to find out what categories they want their article in is a pain. Hopefully it won’t be as bad this time around though, because Mrs. May decided that if photos, tags, and categories were not included in the document for the lovely editors, the article wouldn’t be posted on the website.
The final step in the journey is you, our beloved readers. We have a pretty diverse class, so we always have a variety of topics. Everyone is bound to find something that interests them. If you could tell your friends to read the Wire, that’d be pretty great too.