What is your name?
What school do you teach at?
St. Paul Academy and Summit School
What city and state is your school located in?
Saint Paul, Minnesota
What different media are produced at the school?
The Rubicon newspaper, RubicOnline website, Aureus feature magazine, Ibid yearbook, and Iris: Art+Lit
How many students are involved at the media program at your school?
13 print news, 17 online news, 16 yearbook, and 30 beginning journalism
Describe your space for us.
Our space is designed to balance collaborative and independent work. One half of the room includes couches and other seating, plus a desk/presentation space. The other half is computer lab style. There’s a mini-fridge and microwave set up on a cart for late nights and weekend paste ups, and lots of storage solutions (filing cabinets for cameras and other equipment, cubbies for backpacks, etc).
What do you think are some of the benefits of the workspace you all have?
When I had the opportunity to redesign the room last year, I looked to Google offices for inspiration. It’s very organized; everything (and every person) has a space. Students move freely between spaces as they get shift from task to task. In one class period, the full staff might start at the couches for a status check-in, then designers might move to the computer bank to work collaboratively while editorial board stays by the coffee table to discuss and a copy editor takes over the desk to spread out pages… that kind of thing.
What do your students like most about the workspace you have?
Our staffs have a community feel, and the room is a comfortable place where they like to hang out. Even when they aren’t in the room for class, they are in the room. It might be to grab a snack from their labeled shelves (and they have learned why you don’t steal food from your roommate publications), or work on other homework (I have a shelf just for left-behind textbooks), or they might schedule to meet there with a freelancer or an Independent Study columnist during a shared free time.
What computer programs and/or apps is your staff using on a regular basis for their work?
The 15 Mac desktop computers have Adobe CC, and every publications student has access to Adobe CC on their laptop (we are a 1:1 school). Most social media reporting can be done through Hootsuite or by logging into the accounts from a publications computer (because we have no filters). Most students have downloaded the apps for all our social media accounts onto smartphones, but they also have access to iPads for reporting that include Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.
What tech equipment are your students using on a daily basis?
Most of our cameras are Nikon DSLRs, but we also have a GoPro Hero 5. The sound cabinet is a precious space, especially for our videographers and podcasters: that’s where the Tascam recorders, the Mackie 8-channel mixer, Sony large-diaphragm headphones, shotgun, unidirectional, and lavalier microphones are kept. We also have two Wacom tablets for our illustrators.
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’d recommend investing in Tile and attaching one to each of your cameras. We have a 24 hour/weekend check out policy, but I had students who would keep cameras for weeks and we needed them back. Now that they know I can look up a camera location on GPS and make the Tile ring if the camera has been checked out too long, they get them back to the cabinet and signed in. Beyond that, I am a collector of tripods and monopods. Pictures and video are just better with them.
How is your workspace funded?
The journalism program is funded through an academic budget.
Do you have anything on your wishlist for your space? If so, what do you have and why?
I think our next big tech investment will be a Glide Gear Geranos VII 3 Axis Gyro Motorized stabilizer. It’s on the RubicOnline Chief Visual Editor’s wish list.
(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.)