Wheeler students experience the distinct joy of getting a scoop

Wheeler students experience the distinct joy of getting a scoop

The Westerly Sun

NORTH STONINGTON — The Fourth Estate is alive and well at Wheeler High School, although like many other journalism outlets these days, it’s a little short-staffed.

The North Stonington Post, an online newspaper, is the product of the two students in Kristine Charles’ journalism class. Updated every other day — Monday, Wednesday and Friday one week, then Tuesday and Thursday the next — the website has a running calendar of events, weather forecasts, and results from Wheeler sports. There’s a single feature article on the website now, but the class hopes to add more soon.

This is the second year that Charles, who has taught seventh-grade English for the past 10 years, has offered the high school elective. Last year, the three students in her class put out a quarterly newspaper, but this year they decided to go electronic. Early in the school year, the class decided the website would be a better option to reach their target audience of students.

The first feature article, an interview with Principal Christopher Sandford, ran in late September. Author Justine Gouvin, a sophomore, said she enjoys being the first to know something, such as learning about the new job Sandford plans to take in November, something she didn’t know about until the interview.

“Some of my friends read it and they said it was good, and they didn’t know either,” said Gouvin.

The next article will be an interview with Associate Principal Kristen St. Germain. Plans for future articles include the town’s new emergency services center, an interview with Superintendent Peter Nero, interesting senior projects, spirit week activities, a photo essay of school life, and a follow-up on a fundraiser.

The stories are chosen for their prominence and proximity, Gouvin said. They also tried to look for stories involving conflict, but that’s “the only one we really can’t find too much of in our school,” she noted.

Meeting only five days over a two-week period doesn’t leave them a lot of time to put the paper together. A lot of the work has to be done outside of class, which makes the journalism course the rare elective that requires homework, The journalism students must be sufficiently motivated to do the work, Charles said. She’d like to eventually publish a quarterly newsprint product as well, she said, but it’s hard with only two students.

“It’s a slow process, but we do what we can,” she said.

A more immediate goal is to make more students aware of the North Stonington Post.

“Kids really haven’t caught on to it yet,” said Charles. “It’s just a matter of advertising it, really.”

Last year, Gouvin said she only knew about the newspaper because a friend was taking the class. It sounded like fun, she said, so she decided to sign up.

“I really like to write, so I thought I’d give it a try,” she said. “I like it so far.”

To read the paper, visit northstoningtonpost.weebly.com



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