I’m adviser Kellie Wagner, and this is our newsroom

What is your name?
Kellie Wagner

What school do you teach at?
Xavier High School

What city and state is your school located in?
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

What different media are produced at the school?
Newspaper, Yearbook, Photography Class, and some short video productions. https://www.xavierxpress.org/

How many students are involved at the media program at your school?
113

Describe your space for us.
Our space is organized and set up to work efficiently for classes with large numbers. Every student has an iPad, so the desks allow space for students to spread out to write and revise, and the desktops give page designers their own area.

What do you think are some of the benefits of the workspace you all have?
One of the benefits is the room being broken up by the desktop lab and the classroom tables. This allows for students to leave one area and enter another space and mindset when they need to shift their focus. The photo area is also separate, so no one watches people as they get their photos taken. This allows both the photographers and the models to be relaxed and creative.

What do your students like most about the workspace you have?
More than the physical space, my students love the environment in the journalism lab because it’s social and provides them an opportunity to be creative. As the teacher, I see students be themselves within this space. The fact that these kids know they can escape and feel safe and welcome within my classroom is what I love, and it’s also why these students spend time in this space even when it isn’t their own class period.

What computer programs and/or apps is your staff using on a regular basis for their work?
We use InDesign and Photoshop. All of our articles are typed and uploaded to Google Shared Folders for editing. We recently purchased Final Cut Pro.

What tech equipment are your students using on a daily basis?
InDesign and Photoshop are how we design the newspaper. Students take photos with Canon Rebels or iPhones. Video is edited with Final Cut Pro.

 Aside from the computers and the programs, what are one or two pieces of equipment that you have that you think other programs should have.
Final Cut Pro. I’m just getting started on this program, but it has drastically changed what we have been able to do with editing compared to iMovie. In addition to this program, we purchased a laptop just for Final Cut Pro. This allows students to check the laptop out at night and take the program home to spend even more time editing video. This is the only reason these videos get done in a timely manner.

How is your workspace funded?
The yearbook comes out even, so our space is funded by ad sales from the newspaper. In addition, we sell subscriptions to our newspaper for $30 a year. Patrons receive their name in every issue of the paper as a donor, and we mail each issue to them. I ask each student in newspaper to sell five subscriptions. Our goal is to sell 200 subscriptions per year. (Mailing 200 papers at a time qualifies us for a bulk mailing discount at the Post Office.)

Do you have anything on your wishlist for your space? If so, what do you have and why?
We hope to continue to expand our video production. This means wireless microphones and better cameras. I would also like to purchase more laptops to allow students to check out our programs over night when time is limited.

(This is one of a series of posts where high school newsrooms are showcased. We’d love to showcase your newsroom on the site. To find out how, check out the information here and submit yours today.)

Aaron Manfull

Aaron is in his 20th year of advising student media. He is currently the Director of Student Media at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. He is the Journalism Education Association Digital Media Chair and co-Director of Media Now. He created The Next 26 and is a former Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year. He is one of the authors of the textbook “Student Journalism and Media Literacy.” You can find him on Twitter and Instragram @manfull and on Snapchat as aaronmanfull. He’s a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

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