This week is Scholastic Journalism Week and, here at OTR, we are taking the time to reflect on our role as student journalists.
Today’s theme is ‘Beyond Scholastic Journalism.’ For us, journalism goes beyond the walls of the newsroom. As seniors, we have taken the opportunity to examine how our experiences in our school’s Journalism and Communication (J&C) magnet and our time on the On the Record staff have influenced our projected paths for the future.
The OTR Editorial Board
Lainey Holland, Editor-in-Chief
Intended Major: Graphic Design
Dream Job: Creative Director
I believe journalism goes far beyond news writing and current events –– it’s about solving problems and communicating ideas. In the J&C magnet, I have learned how to unite writing, design, and photography to tell a story with a purpose. When I was introduced to graphic design my freshman year, I was hooked. I was fascinated by typography, negative space, and all the things I could do with the Adobe Suite at my fingertips. My first designs were rough, but I was dedicated enough to take an elective in advanced graphic design –– this is where I really sharpened my skills. From posters, to book covers, to Photoshop composites, and my fair share of breakdowns using the pen tool, I enjoyed the feeling of simply creating. Flash forward to my senior year, I am now a graphic design intern for a branding agency, where I design social media content, logos, and even merchandise! I am also intending to major in graphic design in college because my ultimate goal is to become a Creative Director for a magazine or a health and wellness company. I love design because I love telling a story and presenting information in a digestible way. Because of journalism, I fell in love with design, and for that I’m thankful.
Sylvia Cassidy, Special Projects Director
Intended Major: Political Science
Dream Job: Lawyer
Student journalism for me has been a place I can explore hands-on the world around me and my interests, specifically in politics. I grew up pretty well acquainted with the government — I vividly remember bringing up a government shutdown in my fifth-grade science class — but not many other kids my age shared this interest. It wasn’t really until I became involved in scholastic journalism that I felt I had an appropriate platform to discuss and investigate the government… literally.
I found myself sitting across from elected officials asking them about issues within our community and waiting anxiously in government chambers for a vote on a specific bill or measure. Then, I wasn’t just hearing about something I was interested in, but I was an active part of it.
It is because of my work as a student journalist and my high school journalism classes that I feel ready for college. I plan on majoring in political science and hopefully move on to law school. I feel like my work as a student journalist has already given me an inside perspective into what I will be learning about in college.
Annie Whaley, Associate Editor
Intended Major: Public Relations/Social Work
Dream Job: Peace Corps
Being involved in student journalism has defined my high school experience. Not only have I gained confidence as a writer and learned interview skills that will benefit me way down the line, but I also learned invaluable leadership skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Learning how to connect with people around me and create memories and friendships with people I create content with and blurring the lines between friend and coworker is a lesson that I am so lucky to have learned early. I can’t wait to take my experiences from OTR with me to my college years and beyond!
Claire Rooney, Digital Editor
Intended Major: Journalism and Communications with a minor in Computer Science
Dream Job: Running a website for a online publication or a staffer for a magazine
Being a journalism student has really helped me understand what the media is and how it functions. Specifically, our magnet encourages me to reach out and connect with people in the community and not be scared of being rejected or not taken seriously. It has definitely helped me become confident in my skills as a writer, coder, and communicator and I am the most thankful for the people and connections I’ve made that have helped me become who I am. I can remember applying to J&C when I was in eighth grade, wanting to become a better literary writer and then discovering the powerful role of a journalist in freshman year. It was a really formative time and I’m happy I ended up pursuing this career further.
Grant Stromquist, Design Editor
Intended Major: Professional pilot/aeronautical science
Dream Job: Commercial Pilot
I’m in J&C, as a graphic designer, and want to be a pilot. Yes, it doesn’t make sense, but I have learned an incredible amount from journalism that I will take into college and my career. I went into the J&C magnet wanting to be a meteorologist; J&C was the perfect path to make that happen. That was until I was introduced to graphic design, a creative outlet I did not have before. Just because I fell in love with graphic design does not mean I was good at it, and lots of practice went into where I am today as the Design Editor of OTR. My leadership role continues to teach me everyday how to communicate and be flexible with the people I work with and mentor. Taking initiative and moving up in the world is very important to me, and OTR has offered a pre-game to the real world. I’ll start my flight career on a little Cessna 172, and end the captain of a Boeing 777, just like my graphic design journey.
Alauryn Moore, Managing Editor
Intended Major: Psychology with a minor in Broadcast Journalism
Dream Job: Clinical Psychologist
Why does student press journalism matter to me? Well, I have a plethora of reasons why it matters but the main reason… education. Through journalism, I can use my platform to educate others on important issues that directly affect Black people and people of color. During my sophomore year, I wrote “Life in “Liquor,” a story about how the unprecedented amount of liquor stores in Louisville’s West End directly affect the predominantly Black and Latinx community. As a young Black woman, sometimes the media does not adequately represent me, Black people, or people of color. With journalism, I can change that narrative and unbiasedly tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
My high school journalism classes have provided me with so many opportunities. I’ve gotten to meet local, national, and international journalists and government officials, participate in rallies and marches planned by my peers, interview CEOs, and so much more. Because of my journalism classes, I was able to do these things, most of which kids my age have never afforded these same opportunities. Learning to network this young will help me when I go on to college and start my future career.
Journalism has taught me how to use my voice to raise awareness and to never let my fear of failing stop me from trying. In college, I plan on majoring in psychology and minoring in journalism. Using these things I have learned, I know that I will be ready for college and beyond.
James Jean-Marie, Photo Editor
Intended Major: Graphic Design
Dream Job: UX/UI (Interactive Designer)
One of the main reasons I wanted to join the J&C magnet at my school was because I wanted to become a graphic designer. Yes, writing is an important aspect in how we communicate our ideas, feelings, call to actions, etc, but at times design elements are needed to go along with it so the audience isn’t just reading blocks of text. J&C has equipped me with the skills to communicate ideas through graphic design. A design can speak louder than words at times, and not everyone has the technology literacy skills to create such a piece. Learning about the basics of graphic design and over the years applying those skills has built up my creativity and communication skills.
With the skills I have gained from the magnet, I now run my own freelance graphic design business that I had the opportunity to start the summer of 2020. With that, I am creating logos, cover art, posters and more for clients. I also intern under a marketing agency as a graphic designer and help create social media content and logos for them. In college I plan on majoring in graphic design to pursue a career in UX/UI (Interactive Design) later on. I want to make a difference in how people interact with design on a daily basis and that it is accessible to everyone. The world does not only need design, but great interactive design and I want to be a part of that.
Katie Cummins, Content Director
Intended Major: Journalism and Political Science majors/Media and Film Studies minor
Dream Job: Late night showrunner
When I applied to J&C, I applied to become a graphic designer. After realizing that I lack both the creative talent and patience to handle the lovely combination of the Adobe Suite and school computers, I turned my attention toward writing — something I’d previously been reluctant to admit I enjoy doing. I became a staff writer for OTR my sophomore year, was the junior copy editor last year, and this year, I’m on the Editorial Board as Content Director. Some of my favorite high school memories have been made with my fellow OTR staffers and in my J&C classes. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with all sorts of people from all walks of life — I even had the opportunity to question Gov. Beshear in December about controversial police training slideshows. Though my time as a high school journalist is coming to a close, I’m excited to continue to study journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and hope to pursue a career that is somewhat adjacent to a journalist’s.
Alana Fields, Marketing Director
Intended Major: Business Marketing and Journalism Combined Major and a Black Feminist Studies Minor
Dream Job: Entertainment Lawyer or Digital Marketer
I wanted to apply to J&C to pursue my interest in broadcast journalism just like my father had in Louisville about thirty years prior. I remember wanting to be Robin Roberts when I grew up after watching her on “Good Morning America” for years before school. However, after immersing myself into J&C and joining a staff my sophomore year, I fell in love with the marketing and the public relations side of journalism. I loved promoting the work of my fellow staff members and I really enjoyed the business side of the publication — coordinating ads, subscriptions, and fundraising events for On the Record. In the near future, I hope to pursue a career in media law. I want to continue to work in the media field while protecting and marketing the work of journalists. I want to be a representation for women of color in the media industry and am grateful for my opportunities and experiences I’ve learned in J&C.