Jackson High newspaper may turn into online video network
EVERETT — Zach Anders, a Jackson High School student, was introduced to journalism due to a scheduling error in his freshman year. Now a junior, Anders is the editor in chief of the student newspaper, the Stiqayu.
But, due to lack of student interest, the journalism class that produces the Stiqayu may only last for one semester next year. Its future after that remains to be seen, as not enough students signed up to warrant continuing it in the eyes of the school. Only 28 students registered for the journalism elective this year, or 14 per semester, warranting a single-semester class. A minimum of 22 students per semester is required to keep an elective open at Jackson.
Journalism at Jackson may continue by shifting online.
Anders and others are proposing to keep news in their school via broadcast-style newscasts produced on YouTube through what they call the Jackson News Network.
In the next few weeks, Anders and his classmates will be proposing using YouTube to the student council as a revitalized version of the now-defunct Stiqayu Club.
The idea began when Mill Creek City Councilman Mike Todd approached Anders with an idea to produce a student-run news show for a local public access channel. At the time, Anders decided to keep the idea in the back of his mind and focus on other pursuits.
After the mudslide in Oso, though, he and four other high school reporters were given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to report on the tragedy. They are the only high school journalists who have been on-site reporting on the mudslide.
The students were driven around to the local command centers and eventually up to a site overlooking the slide.
“We drove up a power line access road that was steep and narrow, but as you looked down you could see some sorted material,” Anders said. “One pile was wood from homes. I didn’t realize what another pile was at first, but they were vehicles.”
Their finished broadcast can be viewed online on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEesplF7l9Y.
After the broadcast was released on YouTube, Anders said about six students approached him asking how they could get involved with broadcast news.
Now, about 20 students are involved in reviving the Stiqayu Club in pursuit of the broadcast format.
“It can’t be just me,” Anders said. “It wouldn’t work.”
Creating news in a format that relates better with his peers may revitalize student interest in journalism. Anders said he hopes that, someday, broadcast journalism may become a part of a class, produce live sports coverage and create daily announcements for the school.
At this point, nothing is certain, as the student body still needs to approve the club. Then, the club will need to create a format for the broadcast and find the best way to distribute its product.
However, the club so far has had support from the school’s staff. Principal David Peters approved for small renovations on a room that the Stiqayu used to use as a dark room for processing photographs. It has now been painted and lights have been installed so that it could potentially become a place to record if the student body approved the club.
Anders has written hard-hitting stories for the school paper, including the death of a previous student in a kayaking accident and heroin use in high schools across the country.
In addition to his high school journalism class, Anders also contributes to the Mill Creek Beacon and formerly wrote for the Mill Creek View. Although he is pursuing creating a club focused on broadcast news, he says that he still prefers writing.
“I always will, I think,” he said.
However, he readily acknowledges that as he moves forward, his opinions may change.
He plans to study journalism in college, but his ultimate goal at the moment is to become a public servant.
“I want to help people on a larger scale,” he said. “Politics is the place to do that.”