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Keeping an 'Eye Online'

Ben Bradbury
Sleepy Eye (Minn.) Herald Dispatch

October 20, 2010


Thirty-one students at Sleepy Eye High School (SEHS) have been getting a taste of journalism in the 21st Century as members of a Desktop Publishing class. New at the school this year, SEHS students are putting out the “Eye Online” newspaper website.

With the tagline “A student’s source for news,” this online publication is written entirely by students, for students. Supervised by instructor Darcy McGee, juniors Courtney Rossbach and Jessica Busch are co-editors this year.

“It’s nice that everyone contributes something,” said Jessica. “It feels like working for a newspaper for me.”

At the beginning of the school year, students picked various subjects to write about. Some of the topics covered on the website include sports, fine arts, student council and various other extra-curricular organizations.

Also, students enjoy writing in a variety of different styles. The website has features, editorials, comics, reviews, polls, and even the advice column?“Lessons by Leon” written by Mitchell Laffen.

One writer who has enjoyed working for the website this year is senior Jocelyn Mora. “I love writing – that’s why I do it,” she said. “It’s the students’ website, not the teachers’.”

Joceyln has written a variety of articles this year, including a Student of the Month series. Her favorite articles, however, are her columns about fashion: what people wear and why they wear it. “I like all sorts of fashion,” she said.

Another writer for “Eye Online” this year is senior George Hirschboeck. Working with his fellow students, George has written numerous articles. His favorites include finding unique quotes for the homepage and keeping students informed with a student council update.

“I see how all the students are enjoying the class,” he said. “They’re really proud of it.”

Joceyln agreed with George, explaining that she has learned a lot about her classmates through the class. “I’ve gotten to know what other people are into and what their opinions are,” she said.

A typical Desktop Publishing class is largely run by independent study. Students work on their articles, share their work through Google Docs and send a personal log of their progress to McGee.

When finished with their work, students send their completed articles to Jessica and Courtney. The young ladies then edit the stories, provide feedback to the students and send the work off to their teacher.

McGee then reads the work and posts it online. Although primarily student run, no articles are posted on the website without approval by their instructor.

Over the course of the trimester, Jessica said the students’ writing has definitely improved. “When they first started, it didn’t look so good,” she said.

George feels this improvement is mainly a result of students being able to write about topics that truly interest them. “They really enjoy what they’re writing,” he said.

McGee agreed, noting that students who were absent from class still chose to submit their work for publication. “It’s really fun – I?have a great group of students,” she explained.

Like her students, working for an online publication is something different for McGee. Normally a computer teacher, McGee has now donned the role of editor/publisher as well. “It is something totally new that I’ve never done before,” she said.

Copyright 2010, Sleepy Eye (Minn.) Herald Dispatch. Reprinted with permission

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