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The write stuff

For the paper's staff, keeping the content fresh and relevant to a unique audience is a continuing challenge. Co-Editor in Chief Mike Marcantonio recalls a story he wrote last year on H1N1 that, on Mazura's suggestion, took a unique angle.

"He gave me the idea of maybe talking about hand sanitizer." said Marcantonio."We want stories that are different."

"The Journal" covers the day-to-day of the school community, from sports to the school budget, but also gets involved in the issue-driven features that impact students, like Marcantonio's H1N1 story. The center spread in the upcoming edition will be on illegal downloading.

Marcantonio took an ESSPA gold award for portrait photography this year. His double, Co-Editor in Chief Beatrice Malsky, won a silver award for her portfolio of newspaper pages she'd designed.

Malsky said she likes to work on the layout of the paper, making sure each edition is visually attractive. Working on a newspaper with the resources of "The Journal" is a valuable experience, she said.

"It's an opportunity to see your work published," she said.

Later this year, the paper will be going live with a revamped Internet presence. Mazura has been working on audio and video techniques with his students for Web content and the site will launch with a multimedia feature on cyberbullying. Online journalism's a bit different than what members of a school newspaper might be used to doing, but it's a valuable skill to have, he said.

"My responsibility as a teacher is to expose them to what the field is," Mazura said. "How journalism is changing should change how journalism is taught in high schools."

Though Mazura is working to modernize the program, "The Journal" has been in existence for about 60 years. This is his third at the helm, taking over from adviser Tom Smith.

"Tom Smith built this program, this was his baby," Mazura said. "I still see myself as a steward of the program."

The staff comes from a variety of backgrounds. Some love writing, others are into art and photography. But given the much-publicized shrinking of the industry, few staff members said they'd be heading to journalism school.

Instead, Mazura said, his intention is to cultivate skills that will serve his students in the future, and to foster creative thinking.

"My hope is they leave this school able to grapple with the media they're inundated with every day" he said.""

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