LAFAYETTE, Ind. — What makes an award-winning newspaper?
Is it its protection of native points, its willingness to carry debates on topical points, or its hen sandwich column that finally ends up creating a cult following?
For Jefferson Excessive College’s newspaper, The Booster, it is likely to be a mixture of all three, plus a bit bit extra.
Earlier this yr, Chuck Herber, an English instructor and adviser for The Booster newspaper, and his college students have been excited to find that The Booster had been awarded a first-place award – its twenty third – from the American Scholastic Press Affiliation.
The ASPA evaluations a whole bunch of excessive school-level newspapers annually and supplies them with suggestions on the right way to enhance their colleges’ publications. With a purpose to obtain a first-place award from the ASPA, a publication must earn at the least 850 factors out of 1,000 throughout six totally different classes.
The Booster earned 910 factors, scoring an ideal rating in two of the six classes, content material protection and common plan.
Since 1998, The Booster has submitted a yr’s work for assessment by the ASPA judges and, excluding one yr, they’ve at all times positioned first.
“Out of these 24 years, one time, we acquired a second place, and the youngsters have been identical to, ‘This can not occur once more.’ At that time, we had gained it for nearly like 18 years, at all times first place,” stated Herber.
However for Herber and his college students, the aim of The Booster isn’t meant to win awards. Their every day objective is to provide a lift of pleasure to the scholars who learn their papers.
“However on the identical time, is that actually what we’re fascinated with after we’re writing? No. It is normally, ‘I bought this story I actually like, and I need to write about it.’ And so they’ll work on that,” he added.
“Actually, it isn’t that vital to us. We relatively benefit from the second and the issues they’re engaged on. We fear about that stuff later within the yr.”
For most of the college students at Jefferson, once they initially signal as much as write for The Booster, it isn’t out of a need to work for such a prestigious newspaper. As an alternative, of their phrases, “as a result of I heard it was a enjoyable class”.
“I initially joined the category due to Herber. Figuring out him and the way he makes the category enjoyable,” stated Eden Clugh, a columnist and reporter for The Booster.
When requested what drew Clugh’s curiosity in writing for The Booster, past her need for a enjoyable class, she talked about her appreciation for the paper’s means to not be “boring.”
“I initially picked up The Booster after seeing us (Jefferson’s First Version Choir) in it, and in addition simply figuring out the historical past of The Booster,” Clugh stated. “It isn’t only a boring newspaper. It has like tales which have been written for us. Like Clare (Lengthy)’s pancake assessment, and simply evaluations on issues which might be identical to humorous otherwise you’ll see issues that you just gained’t see in a standard newspaper. It is particularly directed at excessive schoolers, so it isn’t going to be boring.”
When it got here to the sections within the newspaper, a number of highlights that college students made certain to say, have been the paper’s opinion part ‘Blue within the Face’ and the paper’s assessment columns.
The “Blue within the Face” part sees college students debate two sides, one in favor and one in opposition, on a topical problem. Final yr’s papers noticed college students debate the benefit behind points like e book banning, Senate Invoice 167 and the concept of minimal wage.
This yr’s paper is not any totally different, because it sees pupil wrestle with the concept of local weather change.
“Ever for the reason that industrial revolution, humanity has been spelling out its loss of life sentence. In response to NASA, world warming is ‘the long-term heating of the Earth’s floor… attributable to human actions, primarily fossil gas burning which will increase heat-trapping greenhouse gases ranges in Earth’s ambiance,’” reads the intro to Ruth Naughton-Linett’s article in Sept. 15 problems with the Booster.
However past the paper’s opinion sections, what most of the college students remembered as a spotlight of final yr’s paper was the then Editor-in-chief Charlie Lengthy’s hen sandwich year-long assessment column.
Over the span of 10 points, readers joined Lengthy on his journey to search out Lafayette’s greatest hen sandwich.
Inside the first problem, Lengthy had deemed Stylish-fil-A’s sandwich as “glorious throughout the board,” and plenty of thought that it might be topped the perfect sandwich by the top of the yr.
And over the subsequent eight points, it had defeated every new combatant, from Burger King to Arby’s.
However within the final problem, the varsity was in for a shock when Lengthy declared that there was a brand new king, and it was Popeyes’ hen sandwich.
The second was monumental, to the purpose that pupil reporters from this yr’s class referred to it as among the best issues from final yr’s paper.
“It’s sort of a foolish reply, however my brother’s hen sandwiches assessment articles. It made me consider how private the paper was as a result of I knew the reporters. So, I bought to learn their ideas and truly see them in particular person. It gave me that connection and it’s what I like about The Booster, it simply full all of these ideas of individuals you understand,” stated Clare Lengthy, one among this yr’s editor-in-chief.
However after reflecting on final yr’s success, the scholars have been requested how they plan on replicating the paper’s success.
“It’s going to be higher than final yr. We’re going to write extra articles than they did final yr. We’re going to go extra in-depth; we’re going to be extra in contact with the people who find themselves studying our newspaper and enhance on what we did earlier than,” stated reporter Devlyn Paxton.
“If you see one thing that individuals are so obsessed with, you sort of simply get the power off them and also you simply need to do higher and succeed. So, with the duty that we’d carry subsequent yr, it simply makes us need to work arduous and get good tales so folks across the faculty can see our ardour,” added reporter Jim Gomez.
“I need folks to really feel good once they learn it. Have you ever heard the saying, if you really feel good you look good. I need those that once they learn the Booster, I need them to really feel good once they learn it, in order that they like, dang, I’m completely satisfied this is part of our faculty.”