Community High School newspaper up for Pulitzer Prize of student publications
All morning, Tracy Rosewarne dropped hints to her journalism students that she was going to deliver big news during that afternoon’s class.
Then during class time on a recent school day, the Community High School teacher pulled up the list of National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Award winners for this year.
She slowly scrolled down the list, and when she reached the listing for overall quality for news magazines, she slowed down even more.
Casually, she pointed out one listing - The Communicator, Community’s newspaper.
The student-run paper is one of seven news magazines from across the nation up for the award, which is considered the Pulitzer Prize of high school journalism.
About 20 Community High students will travel to Washington, D.C. in November to see if they win the award.
It’s the first time the newspaper has been named a finalist, even though a blackboard in Rosewarne’s room is covered with awards from the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association.
The difference from last year’s product?
Staffers say it had a lot to do with a redesign of the paper, which worked at reflecting the mood and energy of Community High, an alternative school in Ann Arbor.
“We wanted to find the design and content that would reflect what it meant to Community," said Kayla Stoler, this year’s co-editor-in-chief.
Other staffers agreed.
“What we do really well is reflect (our school) and we’re always improving. Each edition is better,” said Austin Hughes, this year’s managing editor.
Everyone on staff at the paper writes for each edition, then the students go through a process of deciding what makes it to print. They’re quick to point out that neither Rosewarne nor the school’s administration does any prior review on the paper.
Another advantage the Communicator has is the school has other means of communicating general news, like when Curriculum Night is, the students said. That leaves them free to write stories that dig into Community’s culture and students.
David Jesse covers K-12 education for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 734-623-2534.