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Student-Run News Source Brings Stories to Campus

Student-Run News Source Brings Stories to Campus

In an evening leading up the Beekmantown Chronicles news edition being released, Senior Editor Tyler Wood completes the layout design for Instagram.

Beekmantown Chronicles, the student-run school news source, is an extracurricular opportunity for high school students to explore journalism and report on school events. The club has been active for three years since former BCSD student Maggie LaBarge sparked its inception.

Beekmantown Chronicles are currently only shared via ParentSquare and Instagram. They want fellow BCSD members to know what’s happening on campus. Wood hopes to expand other ways to share Beekmantown Chronicles, but they will most likely stick to a digital format to remain environmentally conscious.

Wood, now in his second year as editor, has worked closely with Advisor Mrs. Kendi Rankin to produce quality content for the district community.

“Besides being another valuable extracurricular opportunity, it gives students an outlet to discuss what is important to them,” Wood said. "We’ve had so many interesting articles about rather pertinent issues and events. Those stories can broaden the awareness of our readers, which is important.”

Beekmantown Chronicles covers a variety of topics, but the main things covered are sports, student spotlights and extracurricular activities. Students are encouraged to write about topics that interest them, such as poetry, short stories and personal columns.

“The parameters for what they can write are pretty loose, and I think that encourages more people to write,” Rankin said.

There are roughly 50 writers who help contribute to Beekmantown Chronicles. Rankin understands students are busy with sports, clubs and academics, so she encourages to students write when they can.

While students are encouraged to write about their passions, Beekmantown Chronicles upholds journalistic integrity. Students must remain non-biased and cite sources when used. For sources they can directly contact, students learn interviewing skills.

Students can either email sources questions or interview them in-person. In-person interviews can pose a new challenge for students. They have to take notes quickly and become comfortable with asking questions.

Also, like newsrooms, stories are vetted for grammatical and factual errors. The editing process begins with Editor Jasper Burdo. He will read over a writer’s piece and leave comments, then it moves up the chain of command to Wood before finally reaching Rankin, who has the last look.

“It takes a lot of grammatical knowledge being an editor, and it’s also made me a better writer,” Wood said. “My English teacher jokes that I’m Grammarly Premium because I’ve learned all of the tricks Grammarly teaches you.”

Wood’s voice and editing have grown stronger as he’s stayed with Beekmantown Chronicles. He loves to write about sports, but as an editor, he’s been required to pick up other stories when needed.

“Now as an editor, I have to look at the whole picture, so it’s really broadened my horizons, seeing all different points of view and the different perspectives that each student has,” Wood said.

Rankin watched Wood’s comfort as an editor grow. She taught him how to edit other people’s stories in a respectful manner. They don’t want to discourage anyone from contributing, so they leave comments to elevate the piece.

“He’s really matured as an editor throughout this process, and these skills will help him with college and generally working with people,” Rankin said.

Beekmantown Chronicles is a unique way for the community to connect with the school directly through the work.

“It’s a really valuable product, both for the writers and the consumers. For our student body who reads our news, I hope they get an impression that what they contribute to our school community is valuable,” Wood said. “What they do is important, whether is sports or extracurriculars, what they are doing here has value.”

When Wood graduates this year, Burdo will take over as senior editor. Wood will continue exploring journalism in college, as he plans to major in broadcast communications with a focus in sports broadcasting.

If you want to check out the latest Beekmantown Chronicles, follow them on Instagram @beekmantownchronicles.