I’m adviser Mary Kay Downes, and this is my newsroom…

What is your name?
Mary Kay Downes

What school do you teach at?
Chantilly High School

What city and state is your school located in?
Chantilly, Virginia

What different media are produced at the school?
Broadcast, Newspaper, Yearbook, On-Line NP, Lit Mag

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

Describe your space for us.
We have two classroom labs next to one another, and a studio. The classroom labs have either expanded space, or feature separate rooms. For yearbook we have a classroom, a back room, and a back-back room that used to be our darkroom. For newspaper we have one large L shaped room that use to be two rooms with office. Walls were torn down to maximize space. Each of our rooms house multiple computers, but as we are now a 1:1 school, not all towers are used. The studio for the daily show is adjacent to the library.

What do you think are some of the benefits of the workspace you all have?
It is important to NP and YB that we have separate spaces and do not have to share. Even though a large flashy Mac lab I see on social media makes me drool with envy, our district will not support Macs so we are fine with PCs. We have sufficient hardware and software to get the jobs done.

What do your students like most about the workspace you have?
The students love the intimacy and the welcoming nature of our rooms. The walls are festooned not only with awards, but with handprints of graduating seniors. The YB students also love their microwaves, full sized fridge, Keurig machines and running water, as well as bottled water!

What computer programs and/or apps is your staff using on a regular basis for their work?
InDesign, Photoshop, Twitter, Instagram, Premiere Pro, After Effects.

What tech equipment are your students using on a daily basis?
Nikon cameras with various lenses and Dell computers. 20inch monitors and one Mac for BC that they use for editing.

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.
This is not frivolous – Keurig and Microwaves.

How is your workspace funded?
Just about all is funded either by the school, or in the case of yearbook in the past, from profits. But for BC, all the cameras, tripods etc. were school funded.

Do you have anything on your wishlist for your space? If so, what do you have and why?
Just more of it as we trip over one another, but use halls to good advantage.

(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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