I’m adviser Danielle Bell, and this is my newsroom…

What is your name?
Danielle Bell

What school do you teach at?
Foster High School

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

What different media are produced at the school?
We produce the Talon Yearbook, the Foster Flyer newsmagazine and website www.fosterflyer.com, and the broadcast of bi-weekly announcements and stories at FHS-TV.

How many students are involved at the media program at your school?
55 in publications, 50-60 in journalism intro courses.

Describe your space for us.
My school was built in 2001, and the space includes the main classroom with 6 tables that seat 4-6 students each, an office space that I have converted into our camera storage, a small computer lab with our printer and 7 desktop work stations, a dark room that no one uses except to store old materials and other clutter, and a storage closet. It is a small space when more than 15-20 students are trying to navigate the room during deadlines/hectic times. There’s very little area to store backpacks/lunch boxes/etc, and not many outlets in the room so we’re always stepping over each other.

What do you think are some of the benefits of the workspace you all have?
Because everything is in one room, and students are in close proximity to one another, it helps keep things moving and students stay on task. It also prevents small cliques from developing because the students can’t really break off into smaller groups away from the main group.

What do your students like most about the workspace you have?
They like that everything has a place and that the organizational structure of their camera storage and where other supplies are stored is easily accessible in labeled areas.

What computer programs and/or apps is your staff using on a regular basis for their work?
We use the Adobe PhotoShop and InDesign for the magazine, Premiere Pro for the broadcast editing, and we use StudioWorks (Balfour) for our yearbook. Our website is run through SNO.

What tech equipment are your students using on a daily basis?
We have Dell laptops in a cart where about 3/4 of them charge and the other 1/4 constantly give us issues. We have 1-2 laptops that don’t access our shared network, or their SD card slot is broken, or something else is wrong. Our wifi signal is so weak, and that complicates the way we run our yearbook at times. The desktops in the small lab work fine most of the time, but there aren’t enough of them. All of our 18 cameras are Canons; most of them are 8 Rebel XS, 2 T5s, 3 T5is, and 5 T6is. We have a large color printer as well but we don’t print color much because the toner is too expensive to replace.

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.
One thing that has greatly improved our broadcast productions is our microphones – we are hoping to upgrade to better ones next year, but adding on-camera mounted microphones has increased the overall technical value of our broadcasts.

How is your workspace funded?
We have district provided computers, and some budget given to us for other items/travel, but cameras, accessories, software, etc. must be purchased using money in our yearbook account. The money in the yearbook account is from book sales and ad sales.

Do you have anything on your wishlist for your space? If so, what do you have and why?
My wishlist includes either a completely revamped space where the nonfunctional area (such as the old dark room) can be converted and used for something else (perhaps broadcast), or a larger space someplace else on campus that can accommodate a 3-publications type of program. Also, more desktop computers or laptops that actually work (so we’re not fighting slow wifi and the problems that come with older equipment), a green screen for our broadcasts, more fast lenses to use during sporting events for better overall photo quality, an upgraded on-camera mounted mic with headphones that work with our cameras.

(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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