Why you should take journalism as a senior

My last article at DeMatha


Heath Alexander, Current Events Editor

My name is Heath Alexander and I have been writing for the DeMatha Stagline for three years. 

Over my years at DeMatha I have learned many things. Despite four years of different classes, journalism has been one of the most interesting and important courses I’ve taken. In the world of clickbait and misinformation, media-literacy is becoming an increasingly crucial skill. Knowing how to research effectively and discern fact from fiction is an important thing to have, especially today.

In Journalism we did many activities; my favorite was the mock press release. This simulated a press conference scenario in which we would have to take notes and interview witnesses and then do our own independent research to form a story on the scenario. This exercise helped to develop a very important but often overlooked skill: asking good questions. It sounds easy, but when you’re limited to a window of time every question matters, so not wasting time is crucial. Forming a single question that is concise and more likely to get the information you want out of the person you’re asking is worth more than several bad questions that might not get you the answers you were looking for.

Another important skill I learned from this class was how to write for your audience. Writing a news story isn’t as simple as putting the facts on paper. You have to write to capture the attention of the readers you want. If you’re writing a news story on the Republicans threatening to shut down the government, you’re most likely looking to capture a more left-leaning, Democratic audience. If your article is on Joe Biden’s failures, you’re writing for Republicans.

Knowing how to write for your audience means you can make the story engaging and understandable for those people. This doesn’t mean you make your article biased. or inaccurate; you have to tell the truth. It’s just in the style, language, references and nuance where you cater to your intended audience. This skill will not only keep you more informed but make you much more persuasive in life.

The final reason to join journalism is that it’s simply an enjoyable class. I know many of you, like me, do not enjoy school. I did not look forward to waking up early for math class or science. But I would be excited every other day to go back to journalism. This class is an opportunity to take your school experience and turn it into a place where you can have fun, watch interesting content, and learn about the world around you – learn things you will actually use beyond the walls of DeMatha.

This class has changed my high school career and my life going forward and I cannot recommend it enough for anyone looking for an elective next year.