I’m adviser Kyle Phillips, and this is my newsroom

What is your name?
Kyle Phillips

What school do you teach at?
George Washington High School

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

What different media are produced at the school?
Yearbook, news magazine and online: www.crwashsurveyor.com

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

Describe your space for us.
We have a small computer lab which is attached to a defunct darkroom. The room also contains a concession stand style window, which we utilize during yearbook distribution. We have nine computers and lockable filing cabinet that contains our cameras and other equipment. We have several rolling desk chairs in school colors, which we funded last year from an advertising surplus on Amazon. There is also a large table in the middle of the room that can be used for meetings. The darkroom currently serves as storage as we explore how to best re-purpose the small space. Our walls are decorated with journalism posters and artwork from previous years.

What do you think are some of the benefits of the workspace you all have?
Having the window in the classroom to the hallway is incredibly beneficial during yearbook distribution. We also have a whiteboard that allows us to post what is happening weekly and brainstorm some of our furniture pieces (roses and thorns, possible advertisers, etc.)

What do your students like most about the workspace you have?
They seem to like the laid back feel of the space, which creates an atmosphere different from other computer labs or classrooms.

What computer programs and/or apps is your staff using on a regular basis for their work?
We use InDesign and Photoshop for the newspaper. We use Pictavo, a web-based yearbook design app and Photoshop for the yearbook. Occasionally we will use Windows Movie Maker or audible for multimedia projects. We also use Piktochart for infographics.

What tech equipment are your students using on a daily basis?
We were required to use the school designated computers, which are Dell all-in-one touch screen desktops. We have three dSLRs, two of which are video capable. We also have a Sony digital camcorder. We have a drone that was donated this past year, but have not had much practice using it yet.

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.
I recently purchased the $20 mics that can be hooked into a smartphone’s headphone jack, which allows students to get better quality sound during on-the-go interviews.

How is your workspace funded?
Any upgrades on the workspace in the past have come from the activity budget from either publication, which is generated through sponsorships, advertisements and yearbook sales. I attempted a GoFundMe this year to minimal success.

Do you have anything on your wishlist for your space? If so, what do you have and why?
I am always looking for more cameras, portrait equipment (lighting, shades, etc.), and high quality microphones. The cameras because it’s always nice to have the newer model to keep up with the industry, and the other things because we don’t currently have them and I think it would help us step up our game.

(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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