Next Gen Journalists: The HHS Newsstreak

Brent Finnegan -- April 22nd, 2010

This may be old news to most parents and teachers, but I only recently became aware of the Harrisonburg High School Newsstreak website. The current version of the online publication has been up for a few months. Newsstreak currently features stories by students on a range of topics, including the World Cup, robotics, and trying to get a job at Cold Stone Creamery.

HHS Newsstreak

Newsstreak adviser Valerie Kibler says that the site is very much student-run. “They’re the ones that are driving the content. And they created the Twitter and Facebook pages themselves.”

Since 2004, at least six Harrisonburg High School students have won Student Journalist of the Year awards from the Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisers.

Like hburgnews, they’re using WordPress publishing software to run the site (a change that came about after their previous web host was hacked by a “cyber terrorist” group). Unlike hburgnews, they have about 50 “staffers” who contribute, although Kibler says most of the content is driven by a dedicated group of four or five students. The journalism and advanced journalism class projects feed content to the website, but “some of the students are going way above and beyond the requirements of the class. Grades don’t drive them to do this sort of work,” according to Kibler.

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7 Responses to “Next Gen Journalists: The HHS Newsstreak”

  1. Holly says:

    Hooray for young journalists!

  2. Lindsay says:

    Indeed! I am impressed not just with the look of the site, but the amount of quality content covering a wide range of interests. That takes time and they’re doing a great job.

  3. JohnLL says:

    EMHS has had online content since August of ’07. Their newspaper, called Windsock, is located at http://windsock.typepad.com/

    JLL

    • Thanks, John.

      I think I remember the Windsock from when I attended EMHS, but that was before blogs.

      I definitely need to get hbblogs working again (or find an alternative) and add The Windsock and Newsstreak to the mix.

  4. Renee says:

    I bet they love having their content featured online instead of just in the paper!

    Awesome job, HHS journalists, photographers, and webmasters!

  5. It was reported in today’s DNR that Valarie Kibler will receive the National Journalism Teacher of the Year Award for her work with the Newsstreak.

    “… Kibler said she does not direct content, but simply serves as adviser for the school’s newspaper, The Newsstreak. Her pride in her students is apparent; she boasts that they’ve covered presidential candidate Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign stop at James Madison University and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s rally in Richmond.

    “They are no less important than anybody else, so they can do an interview with anybody, no matter who they are,” she said. “I think I’m proud that they’re not afraid to talk to anybody.”

    Because she didn’t have a journalism background, Kibler said she took to reading textbooks on journalism education and looking at other high school newspapers. Her staff at both high schools started with around seven students, although the HHS team has grown to more than 50 now…”

    Congrats to Kibler and the Newsstreak students.

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