By Saesha Bhat ('24)
Any article written, news broadcasted, or media posted was possibly crafted by a journalist. After so many transformations within the last 100 years, journalism has blended into many careers across the world, making it still an in-demand job.
Think about one of the biggest platforms today: social media.
Influencing has recently become one of the most popular jobs of the 21st century and the new way people get their news. But the core of journalism, which is to deliver objective and relevant news to the public no matter the audience or public opinion, has never changed.
At South Brunswick High School, journalism is an elective students can take as semester courses. Starting off with Journalism I, students learn the basics of journalism from interviewing to ethics and news values. These acquired skills are then used to craft their first article.. From them on, students spend class time working on articles for the South Brunswick High School student newspaper, The Viking Vibe . Article writing continues throughout Internet & Newspaper Journalism semester courses (II-VII), giving students ample time to perfect their journalistic writing skills while also simulating the experience of being a journalist.
Journalism teacher and advisor for the Viking Vibe, Mr. Andrew Loh, has taught journalism for the past 23 years. After getting no candidates to teach the class, Loh agreed to take charge, even though he was wary of the issues regarding “freedom of the press.” With time came confidence and through Mr. Loh’s leadership, the Viking Vibe has been able to persevere through many changes..
“I love how [journalism class] is differentiated and independent. It can really empower students to pursue what they are passionate about and what matters to them. It gives them the ability to really communicate what they are trying to say succinctly and accurately…People in journalism learn that less is more. Say what you need to say in as few words as possible. People have a huge problem in thinking that the more words you speak, the stronger their voice is. That’s not necessarily true. It’s actually if you speak them effectively or write them effectively. That determines the strength of your voice, and journalism will teach you that for any subject area,” Mr. Loh explained.
As the world evolves, so does journalism, but the conversation of its impending death begs the question of why to even continue teaching it. To Mr. Loh, global and local events or issues would never have the publicity they do today without the aid of journalists.
Holding people accountable for their mistakes or unethical behavior or focusing on problems only a niche of individuals would experience allows the world to continue to be aware, especially in a time of major social media usage and tense political climates. Although journalism is evolving, it will continue to be relevant for those who seek out information.
Mr. Loh said, “We are a student-led and driven. I didn’t ask to bring back the print paper edition [of the newspaper]. The students, after we came back from COVID, who wanted to have this print edition asked for it and published it on their own initiative. Your generation is coming to me and asking for a hard copy of the newspaper…There is still a place for hard copy and when there is no hard copy, there is internet journalism, and the two can work very well together.”
Journalists embody certain characteristics that embellish their writing and working skills. Apart from being passionate, Mr. Loh describes having to be “comfortable with being uncomfortable” as situations may put students in a tenuous position. However, the difference between a good journalist and a great one is those who persevere through those awkward moments, knowing that the objective is to get the facts and understand the subject thoroughly.
Senior Harivallabhi Ganapathy, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Viking Vibe and student of the journalism class, has also experienced such situations in her four years of experience. She joined the class and club as a freshman, going through the stages of being a writer to editor and now Co-Editor-in-Chief alongside this reporter.
Initially interested, Ganapathy was inspired to become a member after learning of the print edition, which had ended due to the COVID outbreak. Three years later, the print edition is now coming back, and Ganapathy is excited to finally see her articles published in print.
She said, “When I first joined, [the articles] were all online, which was fine, but a print newspaper is something you can actually hold in your hands like those that used to be dropped in your hands at your home. I think that is so cool, being published in the newspaper, and amazing that we are bringing it back!”
Journalism holds a place for all students no matter how much experience they have. From article writing to interviewing and making connections, it is truly a well-rounded subject that will help any individual develop skills applicable to any careers beyond journalism. If you are interested in joining the club, contact Mr. Loh or come to club meetings every Thursday in A204. If you are interested in joining journalism classes for a semester or even a full year, contact Mr. Loh or talk to your counselor.