By MALIYAH RUSS
East Columbus High School opened its 2018-19 school year with a new journalism/photography/media class known as Gator Media.
Twenty-three students divided between fall and spring semesters signed on to not only produce the school’s yearbook Swamp Life, but to create a website, GatorsEast.com; a newspaper, Gators East; and an online magzine, Gator Living.
Students are responsible for finding the story ideas, and contacting, interviewing and photographing the subjects of their stories.
Every student will be exposed to new skills involving writing for newspapers, processing images, designing ads and laying out web, newspaper and magazine pages.
Fuller Royal is the teacher for the class, which is available to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Royal brings 20 years of experience working at The News Reporter to his students.
When ECHS Principal Jeremiah Johnson learned of the expansion of the class to include more than a yearbook, he had the course recoded as journalism.
During the summer, more than 30 donors contributed enough funds to the class to upgrade computers, cameras and software.
“The students in this program are having to learn to enterprise their stories and photos,” Royal said. “I have provided the guidelines, but the balls are in their courts.”
The class plans on producing an expanded yearbook, six newspapers in conjunction with The News Reporter, six Gator Living online magazines and scores of web stories for the year-old website.
Royal said the class is not for anyone who doesn’t like a lot of writing assignments.
“The students are learning about meeting numerous deadlines and about having their work seriously edited,” Royal said. “Who knows? Several of them may pursue this after high school and college.”
For now, because the class is so new, there are no student editors. Royal said that next year, as students discover their talents and leadership abilities, they will be asked to take on those responsibilities.
This year’s students include Caitlyn Andrews, Hannah Andrews, Makah Bonilla, Jazmyne Brown, Alanna Deal, Tyra Freeman, Chalene Graham, Dylan Grice, Savionna Hardie, and Dulce Jaimes.
Also, Autumn Johnson, Emily McLean, Kylie Moore, Nohemi Noyola, Samantha Padgett, Raini Patrick, Elizabeth Pierce, Savannah Quick, Shawnae Robinson, Maliya Russ, Austin Ward, Catelyn Tripp, Samantha Howell and Arianna Daniels.