I’m adviser Chase Wofford, and this is my newsroom

What is your name?
Chase Wofford

What school do you teach at?
Coppell High School

What city and state is your school located in?
Coppell, Texas

What different media are produced at the school?
In addition to The Sidekick newspaper, our online edition is www.coppellstudentmedia.com.

How many students are involved at the media program at your school?
I am the newspaper adviser and we have 45 staff members on The Sidekick.

Describe your space for us.
The D115 newsroom is a former art room so we have a sink (which comes in handy) and counter space. Each staff member has a mailbox in the newsroom. It is a square classroom with windows one one wall, our storyboard whiteboards along another wall and we have 15 iMac desktop stations. The center of the classroom has collaboration tables, in addition to a sofa. We also have a mounted Smart TV, which we use to watch the news each day as well as KCBY-TV, our campus television program.

What do you think are some of the benefits of the workspace you all have?
Our newsroom is open so it makes for great opportunities for staff members to discuss their assignments and get a feel for what is happening each day in Coppell Student Media. The desktops are positioned so that the entire room can see the photos being uploaded, designs being created and the pages as they are being designed. While I wish we had more space the spread out just a little bit, the coziness of the newsroom creates an intimate environment where all staff members are truly part of the production process.

What do your students like most about the workspace you have?
While I look at the logistics of our newsroom to make sure it is functional for our publication, the students (especially the editors) try to make it comfortable space. For many of them, they spend more time in the D115 newsroom than anywhere else in the high school. They were excited this year to add a sofa to the newsroom. Students also personalize the room by hanging lights and posting messages to their fellow staff members. Like myself, I believe they would prefer to have a little more open space as they each gravitate to their certain area of the newsroom.

What computer programs and/or apps is your staff using on a regular basis for their work?
For CoppellStudentMedia.com, we are a School Newspapers Online site. For our print edition page designs, we use Adobe InDesign CC. Photographers and graphic designers use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and I’ve also encouraged them to use Adobe Bridge as a file management tool. For copy editing and file collaboration (stories and cutlines), we use Google Drive. For large files such as our InDesign page designs, we house these items on the district’s student shared drive. And of course, we use social media apps (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) on a daily basis as well.

What tech equipment are your students using on a daily basis?
As I mentioned earlier, we have 15 27-inch iMacs in our newsroom. We do have a cart of 10 MacBook Pros as well, but they are aging and slow so were rarely use these devices. Each Coppell High School student is issued an iPad so our staff members have one of these as well. For cameras, we have three Canon T6i, five Canon T5i, four Canon T3i, one Canon 5D Mark II and one Gopro HERO4. We have a couple of tripods, as well as a green screen. We have one Wacom Intuos4 XL digital graphic pen tablet. Many of our students have personal laptops (predominantly MacBooks) and use them on a daily basis. If we ever never items, such as a drone or microphone, we can borrow from KCBY-TV on campus broadcast program. Our newsroom has a mounted LG Smart TV.

 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.
Good cameras are essential, as my students really like the Canon T6i. It has built in Wi-Fi, which is really beneficial when shooting live events and working with other staff members. This allows them to quickly share photos to social media. Essentially all programs are going to have cameras but (if funding is available) I encourage advisers to continue to upgrade their equipment so that their students and programs can benefit from the latest advancements. And while it isn’t necessarily directly connected to production, have the Smart TV in the newsroom is much better than relying on a projector or SMART board. We have watched the presidential inauguration, breaking news coverage and other important national/local events while we do our jobs as reporters. It really provides the newsroom with a professional feel as, even when muted, the news is airing at all times in the D115 newsroom.

How is your workspace funded?
Our newspaper program is a Career and Technical Education course so we are able to receive Carl Perkins funding. Our district has funded essentially every item and equipment in our newsroom. Fundraising, advertisements and subscriptions fund all publication, such as newspaper printing, expenses.

Do you have anything on your wishlist for your space? If so, what do you have and why?
Again, my wish would be for more space. But knowing the D115 newsroom represents so much in regards to The Sidekick, I really would not want to move to a larger room. Therefore, since we are fortunate to have high quality equipment (computers and cameras), I would like to have more modern tables and chairs. I would prefer to have round tables to open up the space a little bit, with newer, more comfortable seating. We received new chairs for our computer stations last year, but many of the chairs at the tables have been in use for about 12 years. I would like to replace the aging MacBooks, but we have been able to manage as many of our students are using their personal laptops.

(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 26th 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 is the 2023 JEA Teacher Inspiration Award Winner 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 X and Instagram @manfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

Aaron Manfull has 868 posts and counting. See all posts by Aaron Manfull

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