16 reasons to join journalism in 2016


Erinn Harris

tjTODAY’s editors from the 2015-2016 season enjoyed bonding and collaborating to spearhead the transition from newspaper to magazine publications.

Katherine Du, Editor-in-Chief

Whether you’ve taken journalism in middle school, or you don’t even know what journalism is, it’s worth trying out at Jefferson. In honor of the 2016-2017 school year, here are 16 reasons why you should join journalism:

  1. Make new friends. The journalism family, comprised of students in all grades, is super accepting, hardworking, understanding, and fun-loving. We’re all here for you.
  2. Improve your writing. Team leaders will individually work with you throughout the entire writing process, from deciding on topics to cover to editing your articles. In addition, you’ll be able to strengthen your research skills by collecting and synthesizing content for your articles.
  3. Learn how to design. We use Adobe software and other online applications to create graphics and design each page in the magazine publication.
  4. Get published. Your work will be posted online at tjtoday.org or printed in the monthly tjTODAY magazine.
  5. Food. Journalism and yearbook take turns contributing treats for both classes throughout the school year. On Mondays we have cookies, and on Fridays we generally have donuts.
  6. Flexibility. Your own input, creativity, and ideas drive the articles and other content you make. After covering events, you do need to post your content within a short time period. However, you can work around your schedule to choose activities to cover when you have more time for journalism. This helps you improve your time management skills.
  7. Journalism conventions. tjTODAY is a nationally-recognized publication by many journalism organizations, including the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA). CSPA hosts an annual spring convention in New York for student editors and faculty advisors of a range of high school media. Not only do we accept an award at the Conference, but we also choose lectures to attend on topics including how to improve aspects of our journalism program and innovative actions that other schools have taken to improve their publications. Last year after CSPA, we also explored Times Square, ate at a variety of restaurants, and watched a Broadway show. The Virginia Journalism Teacher’s Association (VAJTA) also holds a similar convention called J-Day for journalism students in Virginia. Held around Earth Day, the event features various workshops by journalism teachers as well as writing, design, and photography competitions.
  8. Meet people doing interesting things. You get to interact with fellow students and Jefferson faculty members on a much more intimate level. tjTODAY has also been given the opportunity to interview a variety of professionals, including staff members at the National Air and Space Museum and a Nobel Prize winner.
  9. Try something new. In a school full of science and technology opportunities, journalism is a breath of fresh air. A unique and rewarding activity, it is one of the dominant humanities opportunities at TJ.
  10. You don’t need to take the journalism class (although strongly encouraged) to join tjTODAY, just come during 8th periods! A large portion of our staff are exclusively 8th period members. After completing the 8th period TJ Media training sessions in the fall, you’re able to start contributing to both the online and print publications.
  11. Distribution day. One day each month, our entire staff coordinates T-shirts and hands out magazines to students during lunch. This not only lets other students better recognize your hard work, but it also helps the TJ community become more informed as a whole.
  12. High-tech equipment. You will be provided with high-tech cameras and broadcast equipment, and we will teach you how to use everything.
  13. Become more aware of what’s happening at TJ. You can be the first to know about issues in our school community, gain easier access to school events, and help classmates celebrate their individual academic or extracurricular success by spreading the word.
  14. Attend school sports games for free. With a special press pass, you can enter sporting events for free and stand on the sidelines to take photos.
  15. Fun. Journalism is definitely one of the most delightful class I’ve taken at TJ. We are a big family, and once a month we bond after school to work on our print issue (these are known as “worknights”). During worknights, we collaborate while listening to music and munching on pizza and cookie-pizzas or Chinese food.
  16. Last but definitely not least… Ms. Harris (advisor for journalism and yearbook)!! Ms. Harris is super fun, quirky, and easy to work with. She truly helps us become better journalists, better people, and together a more tight-knit team. Ms. Harris is always there for us — from improving our writing and design skills to taking us to out-of-state conventions — and she always assures that we’re having an enjoyable time.

I’m excited for another memorable year in journalism, and I hope you join us on this worthwhile journey. Jefferson’s journalism program is comprised of editor-in-chiefs, team leaders, staff writers, photographers, and a business manager. If you’re interested in joining our program, be sure to attend TJ Media 8th periods during the next few months.