The Journalism Class Makes it Work


Jesenia Garcia, Editor In Chief

A typical day in the Eagles Nest looks like this: you’re greeted at the door with a fist bump from Mr. Johnson. You take a seat and talk with your friends while Johnson settles down. He stands up in front of the podium, then he goes around the room asking everyone for a status update on their articles. When he finally comes around to you, you reply with your current progress. He allows everyone to work independently on their assignments. The photo editors get up and walk to the lab to begin editing. Mr. Johnson starts to play music from his computer while he begins publishing articles. The sound of typing keyboards, clicking mouses, and music from Mr. Johnson’s computer fills the classroom. You open up your unfinished article document and get to work.


Due to distance learning, there have been some changes to the way the South El Monte High School Journalism class functions. The interview process has been the most affected due to distance learning. For instance, on campus, interviewees were brought to the Eagles Nest classroom during their fifth period for a few minutes to answer a series of questions. Now through distance learning, the interviews are conducted via email or Google Meets. Daniela Alcazar, a former photo editor, shares her insight on the topic. “On the positive side, interviewers don’t have to worry about taking students out of their classes.” She mentions that a downside is having difficulty completing articles by their deadlines since few students check and reply to their emails regarding interviews. She states, “I think COVID-19 impacted how the class functions by creating a communication barrier between students and the supervisor.”


Within the first few months of adjusting to online learning, coming up with new and engaging article ideas was a struggle. School events such as rallies, dances, spirit weeks, are a major component for article ideas regarding our South Side section. Daniela elaborates, “coming up with interesting article topics that aren’t COVID related has its limits, and finding new students to interview can be challenging.” Since we’re no longer on campus and able to participate in school activities, the class spends more time brainstorming article ideas online than in the classroom.


A position that has been most affected has been photo editors. The journalism advisor offers his opinion, “the biggest impact COVID has had on the class has been the inability to partake in the photography process on campus.” During the pandemic, the opportunity for student journalists to walk around campus and capture South El Monte’s best moments and events has been lost. This year’s photo editors have not undergone the process of learning how to use photoshop. Photo editors also don’t have access to the cameras used on campus. “My position was impacted as a photo editor by limiting how many photos we could get, asking students to send us their own pictures proved to be difficult,” Daniela shared. She elaborates on this by mentioning that everyone has a different camera quality and that editing without the journalism computers wasn’t easy. Since the class isn’t able to take pictures of their articles, writers have to use photos from Google or ask interviewees to send their own pictures. Unfortunately, photo editors didn’t get the chance to learn how to take pictures and edit them this year.


Although this year hasn’t been ideal for the journalism students, the class has still managed to provide content for the Eagles Nest website. Journalism Advisor, Mr. Johnson, states “Fortunately, due to technology students have still been able to write articles, edit, and upload them to the school news website.” The class will continue to put their best effort into their work despite the challenges they’re facing.