On the beat
The Hoofbeat newspaper students learn interview skills, report the news and write feature stories for J.W. Mitchell High School
In August 2018, Gregg Schindler reached out to me, the adviser of The Hoofbeat newspaper at J.W. Mitchell High School, with a proposition. He wanted to recognize athletes each month in this publication, Tampa Bay News and Lifestyles, Trinity Edition. The concept was simple, although the execution took a collaborative effort. Mr. Schindler would secure space in the magazine, and our athletic director and coaches would select athletes to be recognized.
The next step in the process was for The Hoofbeat students to interview the athletes and coaches, then take photographs and write a feature story, headline, secondary headline and caption. The copy then made its way through the editors and myself for revisions, and finally each month, I sent the final versions to TBNL by their publication deadline.
This year, the recognition expanded to include band members, NJROTC members, club leaders and this month Mr. Schindler chose to recognize the writers themselves. Since 2018, The Hoofbeat writers have completed 65 feature stories for Gregg Schindler and Tampa Bay News and Lifestyles.
Emma Diehl, a member of the Class of 2022, began writing feature stories her sophomore year. She earned a spot as co-Editor in Chief for her senior year, and wrote many features for Tampa Bay News & Lifestyles.
“I was able to better my photography skills through practice over the years and lessons from yearbook staff members. I learned leadership through watching my editors before me work with staff, and then applying what I learned when I began getting my own staffers. Becoming an EIC proved to be a challenge, but it made me a stronger leader in the process” Diehl said.
Diehl and her co-Editor in Chief and News editor of The Hoofbeat, Ashley Hoskins, taught newer staff members how to conduct interviews and write stories.
“I have learned how to become a better writer and cover newsworthy stories throughout our school. Leading students has been a privilege, as I can help them excel in journalism,” Hoskins said.
The Business Manager, senior Alexa Grubbs, kept track of all finances and reached out to organizations for donations and support. The Hoofbeat expanded their scope of coverage this year to include podcasting and a website, thanks to a grant from the Pasco Education Foundation. Grubbs wrote stories for the website and the print issues of the paper.
“When writing a story, I continuously asked myself if what I was writing was current and interesting. As an editor, I learned the importance of time management and how to have a keen eye for design overall,” Grubbs said.
Please check out the work of these student journalists and keep up with all the happenings at J.W. Mitchell High School at jwmhshoofbeat.com.