I’m adviser Alissa Hansen, and this is my newsroom

What is your name?
Alissa Hansen

What school do you teach at?
Davenport West High School

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

What different media are produced at the school?
Print issue – Beak ‘n’ Eye newsmagazine, News website – WHSToday.com, Twitter – @whs_beakneye, Snapchat – whs_beakneye, Facebook – @BeakNEye, Instagram – whsbeakneye, Youtube – WHSToday/Beak ‘n’ Eye

How many students are involved at the media program at your school?
Approx. 25

Describe your space for us.
Our space is functioning and it has come quite a distance since the previous adviser. This is my second year as adviser and just this past year we worked on a grant for new computers (we had 6 functioning computers when I started and they were ancient)! All of our computers come equipped with the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. We only have room for 14 computers and they are hooked up around the perimeter of the room. I wish we had space for more, but this works as students often like to work in pairs at the stations. I have allowed them to create their own workspace by dressing up their computer stations with pictures and motivational quotes. Our principal purchased some nice desks that are easier to move into discussion groups, so it makes it perfect when we have news meetings. The desks are much more inviting than the previous desks. I have two larger tables for editor meetings, but that is about the extent of it. I am waiting on a locked cabinet for our two DSLR cameras. We have a pretty cool metal newspaper dispenser that was donated to us from the local paper; we just need to art it up with some Davenport West pride.

What do you think are some of the benefits of the workspace you all have?
Editors have their own space and I think they really appreciate this. The software we have is immense, it is just a matter of finding the time to teach ourselves how to use it all and then teaching each other. I wish it was a larger space, especially as our staff grows.

What do your students like most about the workspace you have?
I think students like the functionality of the room and the fact that they truly have “their own” spaces that they have made their own.

What computer programs and/or apps is your staff using on a regular basis for their work?
Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, WordPress website through SNO, Canva, Piktochart, Google Drive, CamScanner

What tech equipment are your students using on a daily basis?
We have two DSLR cameras: Nikon D3300 & Nikon D3400, a Canon camcorder, 14 Bytespeed computers, a Hewlett Packard Laser Jet 5200tn printer

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 am not sure we have anything that we’d recommend, although I know students are really happy with the ease of the D3400 camera. They also really enjoy making infographics with Canva and Piktochart as this has been a goal to improve upon this year.

How is your workspace funded?
We got an SCRA grant for the computers (this was a district wide funding grant for the journalism programs to update computers). This year we fundraised and sold enough Yeti bottles to purchase our D3400. The rest is all done via ad sales and we make approximately $2,000 a year.

Do you have anything on your wishlist for your space? If so, what do you have and why?
I just want a larger space because our program is growing and we just need more room to accommodate. I would like to offer everyone on staff their own computer station, so having a newspaper computer lab in addition to a newsroom would be ideal. Of course more computers would be great as the current 14 is not enough for the amount of staff we have. We spent a year with one camera and it was a struggle, so having two DSLRs is great, but I would also like to get at least one more and some backdrop/studio setups for photo shoots. I have numerous students who are interest in podcasting and broadcasting, so I would like to get a few good mics and appropriate film equipment to get those things started as well.

(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 865 posts and counting. See all posts by Aaron Manfull

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