Around campus I am involved in both AVID club and class, and MEChA Club. I am currently an officer in both clubs, holding the position of secretary in AVID and by being the MECha Co-President. AVID has been very important to me because it has helped me learn how to be eligible to apply for college since I was in seventh grade. MEChA Club has given me the oppurtunity to meet people on campus who come from a similar background as mine and who want to achieve the same goals. I have also been a FIRE Leader since junior year and has helped me improve my leadership skills and communication skills, since I used to be extremely shy. Outside of school, I am deeply involved in community service by tutoring children who do not have anyone at home who can help them with their homework. I have volunteered at Project Understanding and am currently a volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club.
De Anza updates, transforms into D.A.T.A. This was the first article I wrote for the Foothill Dragon Press, and it really helped me gain confidence in my writing skills, because all of my middle school teachers could not believe that on my first article I already had controversial questions, and was able to act in a professional manner.
Expo Previews Winter Formal This article showcased one of the major events on campus that students usually look forward to. However, the article received a lot of negative comments from the ASB class, when they learned that it had not been written in their favor. Angered that it talked about the disappointment in the event by students, I was glad that it could be shown that events need to be planned more efficiently by our student representatives.
So far this semester the initiative that I have taken has been the De Anza article, which was also the first article that I wrote. Although I attended this school I was able to find an unusual angle by writing about the negative effects that a sudden change in the entire curriculum of a school can have on students who are attending it while the transformation is taking place. I was able to keep my ethics by not compromising to write something just so that those who it was written about were not angered, and have middle school students learn about the new educational experience they were now able to partake in. Another example of my own personal initiative was the Alaina Stockdill article, because I was able to go to the police station and get a record of the incident for my article, so that it would not be based on what another newspaper had published but rather on what the authorities had registered as the truth of the event. I also took initiative with the Women Empowered at local benefit, because I was able to ask for media passes, and I also had to compete with professional photographers, which was really intimidating for a first year journalism student. But in the end it paid off because I got to write a good article, meet Nicole Anderson, and even got an offer for a internship at KEYT in Santa Barbara in a couple of years.
My goals for second semester for journalism is to be able to take more initiative, because so far I do not feel like I have enough to see what is going on in the community that we serve and have been relying on my editors for story ideas. So I will try to find stories in the littlest events and if their important and interesting enough I will definitely write about it as soon as I can. I also want to learn how to take better pictures, because it will be something that can be used for various things besides journalism and editing and making videos, will also help me be able in the long run by being able to have a variety of skills.
The best moment for me in journalism since August, was the day that my photo was nominated for an award, because my initiative had paid off and I was also able to see what I could improve for my future stories and pictures. At that moment I was really proud because I had to be taking pictures next to professional photographers at the event, which made me feel very amateurish and awkward while I was trying to get the pictures, but then I realized that I could take awesome pictures even if I did not have the same experience they have.
Student publications have the responsibility to inform readers about the truth and are subject to libel and slander if they abuse their power and publish false information. The first amendment in the Constitution, gives freedom of speech but in a school environment there are limits to that speech depending on the disturbances they cause. In the Tinker v, Des Moines court case, it was ruled that their free speech was protected by the Constitution and had the school officials had good causeto suspend them then the students would have had a restraint on their freedom of speech. However, student publications can have prior restraint if there is reason to believe that they are publishing issues which are harmful or stating facts which are untrue. As stated by the Supreme Court in the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, educators were not violating student’s freedom of speech if they decided to remove publications which were deemed to be inappropriate. It is a privilege for students to publish events and issues which they want their school to be informed about, but if they use their power for the wrong reasons then they should be punished by having their speech be withheld from them because they did not use their power in a responsible manner.
The character trait of integrity is the one that appeals to be the most because it shows that journalist is not willing to loose their moral values just so that they can sell an article. I have actually realized that if you are covering an event such as Winter Formal Expo, ASB wants to get recognized for all of their hard work, but there are students who believe that they did a terrible job of organizing the event. It was hard to not be bias towards one or the either, especially since I had friends on both sides. But I knew I had the responsibility to write about how the event truly was, and that if people got hurt by my observations than they just had to get over it, because the public could not be denied the truth. I had to also conserve my bias while writing the Alaina Stockdill article, because it had to be based on the event and not on personal opinion and it had to be free from written work that other newspapers had published because some had not been the truth of what had happened. I had to make sure that I checked with the authorities and got the story straight before I published it so that mistakes in understanding the tragic event.