KHS Redline teaches real-world skills

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Mon., Feb. 17, 2014
(L to r) Lindsey Parent, Rachell Basley and Taylor Randolph are students in Dick Martin's journalism class. Photos by D. Coffey.
(L to r) Lindsey Parent, Rachell Basley and Taylor Randolph are students in Dick Martin's journalism class. Photos by D. Coffey.

Students in Dick Martin’s journalism class were busy preparing for the next edition of The Redline on Feb. 12. Senior Rachell Basley sat at Martin’s desk doing the layout for the news magazine. She uses Adobe PageMaker software on his computer to format all the pages for the monthly publication. Putting in the masthead, story titles, writers’ names, photographs and captions is a task that can take up to two weeks, she said. And that’s not to mention coming up with story ideas, doing research and writing drafts that will eventually find their way into the paper.

It’s a good thing Basley enjoys it. “I’ve loved to express myself since I was young,” she said. “Asking questions and writing are relaxing to me.” She’s made her way to the Editor-in-Chief position, one that gives her a lion’s share of responsibility.

Students in Martin’s classes write two news stories, a column and an opinion piece for each edition. And because the stories vary, writers spend much of their class time doing research and writing drafts. They also get feedback from classmates before anything reaches Martin. Each article gets three peer reviews. Students check for spelling and punctuation errors. They rate the lead to the story. They offer their opinions on whether the piece is well organized and easily understandable. They check to make sure proper attribution has been given for quotes. And they comment on the headline.

It’s practice in real-world journalism. Students have to do it all before deadline.

Basley shares editorial duties with Taylor Randolph. The two bring very different skill sets to the position. Basley doesn’t enjoy interviewing people; Randolph does. “It’s preparation for the outside world,” Randolph said. “It gives you a chance to flip the tables and ask the questions.”

The teamwork required of them, and their fellow students, is a taste of what they’ll find once they leave KHS. That aspect isn’t lost on Journalism 1 student Lindsey Parent. Parent traced her interest in communications to a video class she took with Dan Durand. “I loved the studio,” she said. “I love relaying the news and communicating with people.” She credits Martin with encouraging her to explore broadcast journalism. “He’s pushed me to believe it’s possible,” she said.

That’s something high school teachers are in a good spot to do. “Half the kids in here are here because of him,” Randolph said.

Basley agreed. “He goes beyond teaching,” she added.

For Martin there’s no better job. “I like seeing the lights go on when they learn something,” he said. “It’s awesome. The hardest thing is seeing them leave at the end of the year.”


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