What is Spud?

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Back to Article

What is Spud?

AHS the Spud at the conclusion of the journalism conference in Lincoln.

AHS the Spud at the conclusion of the journalism conference in Lincoln.

AHS the Spud at the conclusion of the journalism conference in Lincoln.

AHS the Spud at the conclusion of the journalism conference in Lincoln.

Safyre Yearling, Editor-in-Chief

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To most, AHS the Spud is nothing more than an online newspaper covering all things local and national. However, Alliance High School’s online news source is truly more than meets the eye.

The Spud staff consists of twelve varying personalities: four editors and eight staff writers. The four editors reside at the middle table closest to the advisor’s desk. Here, they tackle their day-to-day responsibilities, along with any other tasks assigned to them. Aside from creating their own work, their usual duties consist of making the final edits on stories, assisting the staff writers, and using their advanced computer skills to edit pictures. The eight staff writers spend their time expanding on their skills and learning from the more experienced members of the staff.

Whether it be with a camera or notepad in hand, surely you have seen a staff members around school. If not, perhaps you have seen the links to our stories on social media platforms and maybe even read one of them.

One of Spud’s main duties is to cover local news or national issues that relate back to the reader. The goal is to promote all good things that happen in and out of Alliance High School. Most commonly, we cover the various sports events going on. This season, we had two sports photographers who attended almost every event. Co-editor-in-chief, Autumn Hoff, and staff writer, Zachary Placek stood on the very edges of the field, court, and mat trying to capture the most action-packed moments. From here, Autumn puts in countless hours editing and watermarking her pictures, and then adds them into the slideshow that runs on the homepage of the website.

Action shots are not the only pictures Spud works with. Various staff members have practiced and mastered the art of Photoshop. Illustrating photos is a major part of upcoming entertainment and in-depth news stories. Infographics can also be created through Photoshop. Infographics help readers better understand statistics stated in a story. Manipulating photos is a skill that takes a lot of practice, but every staff member has taken the extra step to make sure their photos are perfect for their story.

We have one sole cartoonist in Spud: Autumn Hoff. Once every month, Autumn illustrates a cartoon, usually centered around the time of year. For example, this year Valentine’s Day fell on Ash Wednesday. Autumn poked fun at this by creating a cartoon centered on the idea. Cartoons are created to add fun features to stories and help create social commentary on things that are not always enough for their own story.

Aside from news or sports stories, Spud also writes about things that are not commonly spoken about. Editorial pieces allow our writers to express themselves in ways they may not be able to otherwise. In editorial writing, writers choose an ongoing issue in the world and take a stance on it. It is through this form of writing that we are able to educate our readers on hot topics that are not always openly discussed.

Similar to an editorial, column writing also allows writers to express their opinions. While editorials express the opinion of the publication, columns express the opinion of the sole author. Columns are recurring stories and are considered the most personal of newspaper stories. Typically, they are written to either inform or entertain the reader. AHS the Spud has three columns: The Senior Side, The Viewfinder, and My Monthly Issue. The Senior Side is written by the seniors of the staff. In their column, they take a stance on a variety of topics within the school building. In The Viewfinder, Autumn describes her adventures as a photographer, through the lense of the camera. My Monthly Issue is written by the lone male of the staff, Zachary Placek. In his humorous column, Zac describes his adventures in a class of all girls. He discusses how many times they forget he is present and fill the room with very girly, personal issues. The theme behind his column is “Everybody else in class has their monthly issue, why can’t I?”

For some, their careers in journalism carry on after high school. In the past, Parker Cyza and Peyton Stoike have moved on to become journalism majors in college. Last year’s senior editor, Sophi Sanchez, writes for the Daily Nebraskan and current junior website editor, Aubrie Lawrence, also aspires to be a journalist.

“I think a lot of the time journalists use their opinion to spread news, instead of giving the people what they truly need. I want to change that and make sure that everyone has the right information,” stated Aubrie Lawerence.

With 440 people roaming the hallways of Alliance High School, there are hundreds of stories just waiting to be told. Our advisor always says, “We go to school with over 400 kids, you cannot tell me that there are no stories to write.”

First year staff writer, Khloë Felker, wrote a story on a topic that is known about, but is not always recognized. She wrote about sophomore, Emily Littlehoop, whose culture sometimes interferes with her schooling.

Before this year, I had never tried to write any feature stories; however, this season, I stepped out of my comfort zone and a majority of my stories became feature stories. Our goal is to uncover the stories of those we see in the hallways. To me, that is what Spud is all about: stepping out of your comfort zone in order to tell the stories of those who may never get their stories recognized.

One of the more fun aspects of Journalism is travelling. The Spud staff goes across the state two times a year: Journalism convention and state competition. For the first trip, the entire team packs up and heads to Lincoln for the Journalism convention held at UNL. This convention is usually held at the beginning of the year, when staff members are still unfamiliar with each other. As you can imagine, being crammed in a small vehicle with five other people you may not usually associate with for six hours can either be really awkward or can prove to be a great bonding opportunity. After the drive, everyone goes to their hotel rooms and here, things get more personal. Everyone starts getting to know each other and lifelong friendships begin.

Spud creates a special bond between people who may have never had the chance to become friends, otherwise. Everyone works to build a strong support system, which allows our writers to put forth their best work. Without the structure we have, our online newspaper would not be as successful as it is. This April, various members will take on the state journalism competition in Norfolk, Nebraska, where several bonds will be set in stone. We hope to perform well at state!

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