Aspiring Journalists Create First JMS Newspaper

Before winter break, students at Johnson Middle School (JMS) published the first print edition of The JMS Journal, an original newspaper containing stories from the school. Meeting weekly during the extension block, students created a professional-looking

paper complete with articles, pictures and more. JMS math teacher Corey Coogan ran the extension and assisted with the creation of the September-December edition of the paper.

“Time was definitely our biggest nemesis,” said Coogan. “We only met once every seven school days. This forced us to work on articles over a few months rather than a few weeks.” 

Students controlled much of the creative process, able to choose their own topics and write about what interested them. 

“We spent our first few extensions brainstorming ideas of what we could cover,” said Coogan. “We talked about news and what would be interesting to our audience. Then students picked one of those options and ran with it.” 

Students covered several events that have taken place at JMS over the past couple of months, such as the Halloween dodgeball tournament and football games. Middle school student Connor Vigneau interviewed students participating in the tournament as well as teachers who ran the event. Interviews can be difficult for new journalists, but students were able to obtain detailed information from their peers and their teachers in this edition of the paper from both in-person and remote interviews.

“Some of our students really excelled in finding teachers and students to conduct in person interviews,” said Coogan. “Other students preferred getting their answers via email.”

Another article outlined the recent success of the middle school football team who recently reached the Super Bowl, where both students on the team and coaches were interviewed. The paper contained several interviews by students Aneesa Maity with new teachers at JMS that provided readers with more information about them. An article by JMS student Grace Savickas covered the difficult transition from elementary school to middle school. The article featured advice from a counselor at the school as well as quotes from students about the transition. 

“We only had four articles in our first edition,” said Coogan. “I would love to increase that to five or six.” 

Readers can expect future editions of The JMS Journal over the course of the year, with even more content about the middle school. Students are currently in the brainstorming process for the next paper, but the ideas so far are looking promising. 

“[We] might do a March Madness piece, and there are also some fun activities that students are excited to cover like the ski trips, the school play and maybe even the spelling bee,” said Coogan.

With plenty going on at JMS, writers at the paper have many options to choose from. Readers will not have to wait too long for another edition; according to Coogan, the next issue of the paper should be released before April Vacation.