The Helias Journalism Club has been a part of Helias’ extracurricular activities since 2006, with the current advisor, Mr. Brandon Martin, overseeing the program for the last nine years. The Journalism Club has seen several members enroll and grow into young competent journalists and then graduate. A different medium becomes the focus of the club each year.
Mr. Martin hopes to spread an appreciation for journalism to every student that joins the club. He works to show students that they can complete any form of media they want from start to finish.
“My goals have always been to pass on a love for writing and to produce a quality newspaper,” said Martin. “My goal lately has been to provide very challenging coursework, so students can accomplish any future task knowing they wrote, edited, captured and produced media, about a recent event in a short amount of time.”
The club works to produce different types of articles, media, the weekly news broadcast, and has recently added live broadcasting to their accomplishments. Sam Bruce and Shayne Taylor, freshmen, commentated the home boys’ basketball games this season. They meet before every game to collect information on players and to prepare for the live broadcast. They usually meet the week before and prepare their opening commentary and gather athletes’ statistics and learn key players on the opposing team.
“It will draw more people in this way and it shows you don’t have to write to be doing journalism,” said Bruce. “It gives me an experience at a young age for me to endure.”
The club applied for a couple grants this year, to purchase noise-canceling headphones and other equipment to use while live broadcasting, that will help improve the quality of broadcasts. They won a five hundred dollar Walmart community grant.
(Shayne Taylor inspects a new headset from a box he just opened.)
“This year my goal was to diversify our news into the live news broadcast arena, and make it as professional as possible,” said Martin.
Currently three seniors in the club are also working paid internships for local publications. Jack Treu and Kaden Quinn, both working for “The Missouri Times” on their website and magazine, are reporting and writing around the state capitol. Maura Shimmens works as an intern for the Jefferson City News Tribune in downtown Jefferson City.
Treu and Quinn are often seen on the Helias Weekly Update talking about news around the Helias community. Treu also has two original articles published in “The Missouri Times.” Quinn has one article published for their website and two soon to be published in their magazine.
“My favorite part of journalism is the ability to be a mirror to society and showing people how the world is and not how it should be,” said Treu.
Quinn has been in the Helias Journalism Club since freshman year and believes that journalism has helped him land his internship. He reports on news pertaining to local government and writes reviews and profile pieces for the “The Missouri Times.”
“Helias Journalism Club and the class have prepared me for the internship by helping me develop a style of writing and ethics that I use when writing and working,” said Quinn.
Shimmens types up news notes, creates the weekly school calendars, and does some reporting for the “Escape,” the arts section of the “News Tribune,” among other things. Through her internship, she is practicing the qualities she believes a good journalist should have and is preparing for the future.
“I feel that a good journalist should be responsible, honest, reliable, unbiased, and open to new ideas,” stated Shimmens. “Journalism Club has helped me with these qualities and more by giving me a deadline to work with, placing responsibility on me to find my own topics and ideas and bring them to fruition, and the community has always ensured that we stay honest and listen to and even incorporate the ideas of others into our own pieces.”
Serving as Editor-in-Chief for the second year is junior Jenn Hassler. Besides editing pieces, she also writes sports articles along with other features and serves as the club photographer. Since her freshman year, she has captured sports photography and live Tweeted for the boys’ football games.
“Journalism club has helped me make connections with fellow classmates and people throughout the community,” said Hassler. “It is an honor to serve as Editor-in-Chief and to be able to help guide and give feedback to other young journalists and watch what they accomplish.”
Joey Wagner, freshman, heard about the club around school and thought it would be a nice fit for her. She has always had an interest in writing and saw it as a good opportunity to pursue her passion.
“My favorite part, so far, is probably getting to write articles that are genuinely intriguing to me, or that I know will interest people around me, because I feel like I can put more heart into it,” said Wagner.
On March 29, 2017, the Helias Journalism Club will be attending Journalism Day at Mizzou with hopes of improving their journalism skills and bringing home awards for their work throughout the year so far.
“Seeing the growth of students from unknowing novices to young equipped and confident professional journalists is my favorite part of advising the school newspaper’s staff,” said Martin. “Along with that, I love seeing students achieve big accomplishments in life, knowing that the multi-tasking challenging classes and club I administered, helped, if only partly, create these talented young people.”