Posts by ExecBoard

2016 Annual Contest Results

Posted by on Apr 28, 2016 in Contests | 0 comments

Thank you to those of you who made it to the awards ceremony last night at the KU Edwards Campus. More than 120 people attended, and we were excited to give out awards for the great journalistic pieces created for this year’s media.

Here is the slideshow with all of the winners and the work they submitted. Congratulations to all of our winners. Enjoy the end of the school year and your summer!



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Managing Multiple Publications in the Same Class

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Adviser Resources, Tips and Ideas | 0 comments

Managing Multiple Publications in the Same Class

This school year has been the most hectic and chaotic of my eight-year career. The main source of that chaos was trying to manage yearbook, magazine and website in the same hour, with different staffs, in different rooms. To say this was less than ideal is an understatement. Did I mention this was going to be our first year transitioning from a monthly newspaper to a magazine as well as starting a website? Probably not my brightest idea.

I tried everything I could think of last year to convince my admin to separate the classes, but my efforts were futile. The classes were going to be combined, so I had to make the best of it and prepare as best I could over the summer for what this hour of my day would look like.

Originally, I thought it would be fairly easy to manage my time between the two classes. We had class during fifth hour, which was the lunch hour and the longest class of the day. I would spend the first portion with one class, we’d all go to lunch, and I’d spend the last portion with the other class. This sounds great on paper, but it did not play out well once we started our production schedules. Students on both staffs needed my attention at the same time, and I was not prepared for how taxing this would be not only on me, but on my students as well.

I was far from perfect in handling our situation this year, but I at least came away with some helpful tips in case I’m faced with this situation again. These aren’t exclusive to managing multiple publications in the same class, but they are my takeaways from how this school year has gone for me.


I thought I was an organized person before. I had schedules, checklists, rubrics, etc., but I had to constantly be aware of where every staff member was in their process. Before, I was able to focus on one for an hour, then switch gears when the other staff came into my room. I like to compartmentalize details, so this was a struggle for me. I had to keep multiple copies of things in each room so they were easily accessible. We’re not 1-to-1 yet, so I don’t have a computer available to use in the other room.

Next year, I’ve told all my editors we’re going to use Trello. Many advisers already use this system to manage your deadlines, so I’m hoping this will be a better tool to manage due dates and let everyone see how stories are progressing.

*Pick strong leaders

This is always essential to the success of a publication, but it’s especially so when these leaders will be in charge when the adviser not in the room. They have to be assertive, but not power-hungry. They have to be friendly, but still motivating. Leaders also have to get along with each other. We had a bit of a power struggle with section editors and the EIC at the beginning of the year that took up more time than any of us had to spare. It eventually worked itself out, but it was rocky through September.

One thing that helped was going to camp over the summer. I took both staffs to the same camp. This was a wonderful experience for the yearbook staff. They bonded, designed their cover, made ladder/coverage decisions, and generally started out the year in a really good spot.

On the other hand, newspaper did not benefit as much. Part of this was because my EIC told students who were supposed to go to the Beginning Newspaper class to go ahead and join everyone else in the Advanced Newspaper class. Not a great way to start the year. Those newbies were overwhelmed and didn’t get the basics covered at camp.

*Split time equally

Giving both staffs equal attention was harder than I imagined it would be. There were times, around deadlines, that I would go a couple of days without hardly speaking to one staff or the other. I relied on the EIC to keep everyone on-task and focused. Some days, this worked better than others (see point about picking good leaders).

I also found myself gravitating to my yearbook staff because they were the more motivated group. They “caught on” to the concepts quicker, were more outgoing, and seemed to be a stronger unit. This probably wasn’t fair of me, but at least I’ve recognized this flaw in myself. Since that realization, I’ve made a more concerted effort to spend more time in the newspaper room, but this far in the game, Senior-itis has set in, and I’m basically in a holding pattern until May. I created this monster, so I have to live with it.

I’ve had meetings with next year’s leaders already, and they are motivated to turn things around and pick up the slack from this year. Here’s hoping I picked a strong combination of leaders!

Not everything about having all my publications kids in the same class period was horrible. It was nice to only have to give field trip information once. When we talked about general class procedures and equipment procedures, I could put everyone in the same room.

Another benefit was that the staffs were able to quickly and easily communicate with each other. They helped cover events for one another and helped each other with areas of weakness. The yearbook kids helped teach photography and Photoshop; the newspaper kids helped teach some AP Style and story development.

This year stressed me out on so many different levels, but at least I’ve learned from it. If I’m ever faced with combined classes again, I’ll have this experience to look back on and will be able to learn from my mistakes.


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ESPN Sportscenter Top 10 play

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Adviser Resources, Kansas/Missouri News | 0 comments

ESPN Sportscenter Top 10 play

For several days before Courtwarming, we’d been having trouble with the fiber connection in the gym back to our studio. We’d only had one camera for the pep rally, and we’d anticipated the same for the game. But my Niles Media tech, Jeff Knold, was able to get the floor camera up and running just an hour before the game started. We got our crew in place and went live to our TV channel in Liberty, as well as live streamed on our website. 

As time ran down on the 1st half, we were down by 6 to a team we’d previously beaten by 20 just a week or so earlier. You could feel the frustration from the players and the coaches. With about 2 seconds left, senior Michael Hughes  heaved a desperation shot from the free throw line across the court and it went in as time expired at halftime. Bedlam ensued on the court, in the stands and in the studio. I asked my sophomore boy who was running the replay machine, “Did you get it?” He rewound the footage, and yeah, he got it on replay.  I had two camera people working: a junior girl running the top camera, who didn’t follow the shot because she “thought it wouldn’t make it” and a freshman girl working the floor camera, who followed the shot because “why not? I wasn’t doing anything else.” Freshman girl on the floor camera was the one who got the shot. 

We then downloaded that video, and John Sprugel of Niles Media called the ESPN assignment desk, who said to send it in. We sent the video about 9:45 pm. About 11:30, I got a text that it was going to be on ESPN Sportscenter Top 10 at midnight. It ended up being #2 for the night. It was measured at 75 feet. 

The whole thing was interesting process: from not even having a working camera earlier, to the basketball player throwing up an improbable shot, to the girl who followed the shot, to the boy who was paying attention to get it on replay—so many things could have gone wrong and we could have missed it altogether . It has been a great experience for my students, who have been honored at the school board meeting, and a great boost for the program. 

ESPN video:

Hughes shot with natural sound:

My broadcasting students put this story together about it:

My newspaper kids wrote this story about the event:

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Too many students and not enough cameras?

Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in Adviser Resources, Tips and Ideas | 0 comments

When school started, I found myself in a position that I am sure many of you have been in: not enough cameras or editing computers and too many students in my beginning broadcast classes. After a couple weeks of pulling my hair out with trying to figure out how to manage this situation, I came up with the following rotation. We are on the third rotation, and it has been working well. You could modify to fit your needs in many ways, depending on your situation. I have 8 groups of 4, with 4 positions. It serves several purposes:

  1. They rotate through all four positions, so they are learning all the jobs necessary
  2. Gets B-roll for the Advanced class and future projects
  3. Only need one camera for a group, which solves the camera dilemma


You’ll be divided into groups of 4. No, you don’t get to pick. 🙂 We will rotate through so that in the next few weeks,  everyone will do every position.

In your groups, you’ll have:

  • Editor (edits the footage together with shooter)
  • Shooter (takes the shots and helps shooter edit)
  • Talent (does stand up and helps write with producer)
  • Producer (plans the whole package and oversees it)


    • You’ll be given a basic place in the building to come up with a story idea involving that place.
    • Complete the script worksheet together
    • Get approval from Higgins before shooting
    • Producer, shooter and talent shoots the package.
    • Editor downloads footage properly, finishes job and exports to WREN


    • Tuesday–Explanations, pick story location, do script worksheet, get approval from Higgins
    • Wednesday/Thursday–Shoot footage
    • Thursday/Friday–edit package
    • Must be exported by Friday afternoon

Grading Scale–  -5 for each day late

  • 10 points for shooting (rule of 3rds, proper B-roll, good lighting, no shaky footage, natural sounds)
  • 10 points for writing (good transitions, appropriate standups)
  • 10 points for overall appeal (good flow, natural, holds attention, done well)
  • 10 points for clean editing (fade up from black, clean edits, b-roll used right)

Locations for first assignment:

  1. Attendance/Security office
  2. Front office
  3. Nurses office
  4. Custodians
  5. Guidance office
  6. Fieldhouse
  7. New wing
  8. LMC


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Beyond the AP Stylebook

Posted by on Sep 27, 2015 in Adviser Resources, Tips and Ideas | 0 comments

Beyond the AP Stylebook

I love the AP Stylebook. I drive my students crazy with stressful games, long worksheets and emphatic tirades about using AP Style. But even 503 pages of rules is not enough for me. I needed to create the Style Booklet.

style booklet coverIt’s two pieces of 8×11 paper formatted on InDesign to create a foldable 8-page booklet. It features a 9-pt Palatino or 8-pt Avenir Condensed text to make everything fit. I put a date on the top because it is constantly updated, and then I clip it to the copies of the AP Stylebook that sit between each computer.


The first section contains 38 entries in the same style and tone of the AP Stylebook because sometimes

  • I want to disagree with the AP Stylebook (our school priest is Father Matthew Nagle on first reference, not the Rev. Matthew Nagle)
  • I want to add to the book (spell it St. Teresa’s on first reference, not Saint Theresa’s Academy or other variations)
  • I want to emphasize common mistakes by pointing students to pages in the AP Stylebook.

After the 38 entries, I include a list of all 900+ students at Aquinas. We have a Student Council member named Elizabeth, but everyone calls her Itsy. She’s even listed in our school handbook as Itsy. Her campaign posters call her Itsy. But her Twitter handle is Elizabeth. It would be perfectly understandable and excusable for one reporter to call her Elizabeth and another to call her Itsy. But I don’t want that. So the staff sends an e-mail to all students and asks them how they would like to be known in all instances in the newspaper and yearbook. We don’t get a reply from every student, but at least we can say we asked. If they do not reply, we go with their official enrollment name.

And finally, the Style Booklet lists the 80 or so staff members with their official job title.


My entries

Your list will be much different than mine, but The Shield & Medallion style booklet makes an exception or a clarification in the following instances: 5A, administrative titles, Blue Valley/Olathe/Shawnee Mission high schools, Catholic, championships, coaches, the commons, course names, dances, Dr. / doctor, drives (charity), Eastern Kansas League, high school, Johnson County Community College, junior varsity, Kansas City, Mass, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Spirit Shop, St. James, St. Teresa’s, Source said, Student Council, teacher, teams, Treat America Food Services and WPA.


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