Journalism, The Best Kept Secret at Naaman

By Ryan Hampton, 12 – Timberline Editor

There are numerous programs full of excitement and passion here at the Forest, but one I’d like to share with you today is the journalism program. With nineteen enthusiastic kids enrolled in the class, we have a lot of fun day in and day out.

Personally, I can assure you this program is one you don’t want to overlook. I’ll be honest that the only reason I joined at first was that yearbook was the only journalism course offered at Naaman. I never envisioned myself as a photographer or even enjoying it until that first day I attended a school event and flipped on the camera. Ever since I’ve found another passion in journalism besides writing.

“It’s an opportunity to explore their creativity,” said journalism teacher Mrs. Hahnl.

Many different skills are valued in journalism. If you take pictures of any kind – people, landscapes, or action shots, are all needed. If being behind the computer is your thing and you like dealing with graphics, creating layouts, or editing designs, those skills are desired as well. Or if you’re a pen and paper type of person and like writing short stories or essays we need articles for the Timberline newspaper, too.

“A lot of different aspects go into producing two publications such as coming up with creative ideas to promote the yearbook to students’ through announcements, flyers, social media messages, etc.,” said Mrs. Hahnl.

Marketing is a large part of working on the staff of the Forester yearbook and Timberline newspaper. Being on staff we are always trying to think of unique marketing strategies to grab students’ attention.

In just her first year as the journalism teacher here at Naaman, Mrs. Hahnl has been able to lead an organized approach and keep us focused on the task while also expanding the population of the program.

Seniors Mariah Madrid and Alexis Cornelison have been editors of the yearbook for two years, while I myself have taken on the newspaper editor role.

I sat down with a couple of other key contributors to our yearbook this school year to ask what intrigued them about the journalism program and their favorite aspect of it.

“My brother is a photographer which influenced me to give it a try and I’ve loved it ever since,” explained senior Cecillia Le, who’s been a part of the program for two years. “I enjoy going to different events and taking lots of pictures.”

Each student has different interests and this helps the journalism program to be more well-rounded.

“I’ve always had a passion for writing and felt that journalism would be an exciting class,” added junior Hannah Shelton. “I’d probably say that I like picture days because we act crazy and have a lot of fun with it.”

With many different aspects to journalism there is an opportunity to tap into at least one of your fascinations.

“I love that it’s a smaller class setting and each of us are working on our own individual deadlines,” said Mrs. Hahnl. “I also get to know the students one a one-on-one level. We celebrate birthdays, deadlines, or if we meet a marketing goal in class.”

Although writing remains my passion, I never thought I’d love taking pictures for the yearbook and just expanding my horizons in the journalism field as much as I do now.

For any student that may be interested in the program, I’d recommend joining or even just stopping by room 104 to talk with Mrs. Hahnl and see if journalism is a right fit for you. It’s influenced my life tremendously, and maybe it could do the same for you.