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DailyTidings.com
  • Reporting for duty

    Student news staffs keep journalism alive
  • Ashland High School teacher Bill Gabriel freely admits he never had a newspaper job. Yet he has been guiding student journalists for seven years and he harbors a print reporter's inclination to dodge the spotlight.
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    • A sampling of Jackson County high schools with ...
      Ashland High School: Rogue News, www.theroguenews.com
      Grants Pass High School: Scroll, www.mailtribune.com/scroll
      North Medford High School: The Tornado Times, www.mailtribune.com/tornadotime...
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      A sampling of Jackson County high schools with student newspaper staffs:
      Ashland High School: Rogue News, www.theroguenews.com

      Grants Pass High School: Scroll, www.mailtribune.com/scroll

      North Medford High School: The Tornado Times, www.mailtribune.com/tornadotimes

      South Medford High School: Digital journalism staff, www.mailtribune.com/southmedfordDJs
  • Ashland High School teacher Bill Gabriel freely admits he never had a newspaper job. Yet he has been guiding student journalists for seven years and he harbors a print reporter's inclination to dodge the spotlight.
    Weeks before retiring after 30 years of teaching, Gabriel is in his classroom, diplomatically sidestepping questions about his accomplishments. Instead, he's revving up his teenage news staff.
    "It's going to be like Armageddon before graduation," he says, standing behind a lectern and towering over his seated students. "We're going to turn out a newspaper twice as fast as we're used to and juniors, you're taking over. Now, what have you got?"
    One by one, student editors, writers and page designers explain their plans for upcoming print editions as well as the multimedia, online versions of the Rogue News.
    Across the country, high school journalism is reinventing itself.
    Although news classes are aligned to Common Core standards for language arts, the work may be used in newspapers, yearbooks, magazines, broadcasts or online news, says Kelly Furnas of the 2,500-member Journalism Education Association, based at Kansas State University.
    No journalism program is alike, he says, adding that demand for new skills is driving the change.
    South Medford High has a digital news staff, while North Medford High has students who report, photograph, edit and design printed pages of the Tornado Times, which was first published in 1918.
    Although AHS's newspaper first appeared in 1915, there were four years — before Gabriel resurrected it in 2006 — when there wasn't funding for the print edition, says Principal Michelle Zundel.
    "Bill Gabriel single-handedly revived the student newspaper and restored student voice to its rightful place in our community," she says.
    Typical school newspapers cost the school about 25 cents a copy. The Ashland School District funds about $10,000 and advertising fees pay for computers and special projects.
    Gabriel's latest wish was to convert microfiche copies of the newspaper from 1920 to 1974 to digital images. Southern Oregon University came to his aid.
    Gabriel also arranged for journalism textbook author Tim Harrower to hold workshops at AHS to improve the staff's design and content.
    "Bill is a pioneer in moving the Rogue News into the 21st century and to a larger audience online," says Zundel. "He leaves a powerful legacy in the classroom and the newsroom."
    In early April, the AHS staff was feeling happy, fresh from printing an April Fool's edition that classmates were still laughing about.
    The fake cover story reported the "true" reason out-of-state candidates rejected the job as district superintendent.
    "While the people here may be proud of our roaming poets, alleged fairies that hide in trees with pan flutes and homeless prophets, one must question what the outside world sees," wrote junior Bryce Rogan.
    Since most of the staff members grew up in Ashland, they are confident in parodying it. Serving on the paper, however, has given them greater access to news makers.
    "Being a part of the Rogue News has not only helped me learn to manage my time and become a better writer, but it's a real connection to our school and our community," says Cass Christopher, a junior who is an editor, designer and business manager.
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