FAQ: What you have always wanted to know about tjTODAY


During Scholastic Journalism Week, the tjTODAY staff decorated the armory with flyers to promote awareness of student publications.

Ellen Kan and Tommy Lunn

In celebrating Scholastic Journalism Week (Feb. 16-22), members of TJ Publications have participated in many awareness activities, which ranged from recruiting new members to posting flyers around the school. To cap off the week, the staff of tjTODAY decided to put together a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the newspaper.

Q: What is tjTODAY’s role at Jefferson?

A: tjTODAY “serves as a vehicle for student expression and is an open forum of issues of interest and concern to the school community,” as stated in the Editorial Policy. tjTODAY differs from and is not directly affiliated with Techniques (yearbook), Threshold (literary magazine) and Teknos (journal of science, mathematics and technology). However, tjTODAY, Techniques and Threshold are a part of TJ Publications, and all three are recognized on the national level.

Q: Does the administration control the publication of tjTODAY?

A: No, the administration does not have prior review nor prior restraint over tjTODAY. This means that the administration is not allowed to edit articles or preview the print or online papers before they are published. This is not the case for all high school publications around the country, however, as some landmark Supreme Court decisions have placed restrictions on First Amendment rights. For more information, you can visit the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) and read more about cases such as Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier and Dean v. Utica Community Schools.

Q: Who makes up the staff of tjTODAY?

A: The tjTODAY production staff, is composed of students enrolled in journalism as one of their seven academic courses during the school day. These students, who are enrolled in Journalism 2-4, serve as members of the editorial board, write and design the print paper and publish articles, photo galleries and infographics for the online paper. Students who write regularly for the online paper are also listed as Online Staff.

Q: How does the staff of tjTODAY produce the print paper?

A: The staff goes through a multi-step process to produce each print issue.  At the beginning of the cycle, the staff makes drafts for both layout and the articles. After multiple edits, final versions are produced. Some articles and cartoons may come from guest writers and artists. During the cycle, the production staff works on the paper during class and eighth period, and they also meet at least once per cycle for a late night session. Each writer also goes through a quote confirmation process in order to properly represent the viewpoints of students, faculty and administrators.

Q: How can I write for tjTODAY?

A: You can write for the online paper by coming to TJ Media eighth period sessions. In the first few sessions, you will learn Associated Press (AP) Style, the standardized writing style followed by many newspapers, and the basic guidelines for writing news, features, sports and entertainment articles. Afterward, you can write articles about topics and events that interest you with the guidance of the production staff.

tjTODAY also occasionally incorporates pieces from guest writers in the print paper. However, if you are interested in joining the production staff and writing regularly for the print paper, the Journalism 1 class is a prerequisite. Some exceptions will be made for students who write regularly for the online paper, who may be able to skip directly to Journalism 2 after obtaining permission from the production staff and adviser.

Q: How can I be covered in tjTODAY?

A: On the website, there is a “Get in Touch” tab at the top of the page. You can either submit a form to have the staff cover your event, submit awards and recognition for the Kudos section, submit a Letter to the Editor or submit a photo. Additionally, feel free to talk to one of the staff members and let them know of your ideas.

Q: May I use photos from the tjTODAY website for personal use?

A: We request that you give photo credits to both the individual photographer and tjTODAY.  Before using our photos, please contact the photographer, as indicated in the caption. If there is no photographer listed in the caption, the photo was taken by the writer of the article. If the caption says “photo courtesy of,” followed by a non-staff member, you must contact them separately. If you would like to use a photo from the print paper, please contact one of the members of the editorial board, as we have all photos on file.