Underestimated with a ballpoint pen


Volume one, article three. The "Tom-A-Talk" in the 1970's.

Kaylee Zuhlke, Staff Reporter

Burning through printer and pen ink.  Throwing out ideas like it’s garbage day.  Editing, editing, and editing.  The journalism class at Kamiakin, often underestimated to be simplistic, is much more than just an ordinary school hour.

“Journalism is an exciting field, but it’s more like a job than a class,” said Laurie Bender, the English teacher, also leader of the journalism class. Since she claimed the title in 2003, Mrs. Bender has been through thick and thin just trying to comprehend and fluently speak the language of ethical journalism. Besides the writing, a successful article needs to be led by a sufficient interview of at least a few viable sources, photos of the story, and then layout to ready it for print. However, nothing can be finalized without both self and peer-editing initially.

“Some students sign up for this class and come in with the assumption that it’ll be an easy “A.” It’s not a class for non-self starters.  It’s for those who love writing and want to make a difference. You get to give the school a voice!” explained Mrs. Bender.

Whether you get to openly present your opinion or not, your voice is being broadcasted through the compilation of text of your choice when you submit an article to the newspaper.

Kamiakin’s journalism roots trail back to the 1970s, and although major changes have been made both in layout and content, two significant attritutes remain: the title and the difficulty. A quote from General Colin Powell of the U.S. Army says “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work”.  History teacher Alan Bacon led the newspaper for a duration of time in the 1990s until the publication was halted for an unknown reason. When Mrs. Bender came to the school in 2003 as a new teacher, she accepted the job with no prior knowledge.

“I thought it would be easy… it was insane to learn the ropes!” said Mrs. Bender. Anna Haines, the art teacher dedicated to the publication of our yearbook, was introduced to her role in 2002. (Mrs. Haines also held the title as opinion page editor for the school newspaper in 1975 when she was in the class led by Ms. Tombari.) Mrs. Haines and Mrs. Bender worked together to educate themselves in the process of  the new InDesign layout program. As teachers yet again become students, attending workshops and dedicating time has helped them to come to the point of the comprehension that they are at today.

Schools all around the state and nation also participate in publishing a monthly school newspaper. Locally, Hanford and Richland are two proud branches of the journalism education tree of Washington. Chiawana and Pasco High School’s publications are on hiatus. For a school rumored to be so shiny and bright, it’s a shame that Southridge has never jumped into the press.

Difficult, time-consuming, and brain-activity provoking, why bother putting up with the troubles of journalism class? “It prepares students for real-world deadlines,” said Bender. “You get credit for everything you contribute to the paper, your name next to your work. You go down in school history as part of the team!”

The file cabinet full of past newspapers can almost be seen as a time capsule, mummifying and replaying the memories  that you create in your printed words. Actions may speak louder than words, but words sometimes last longer.