Growth of student newspaper includes online publication

Bellefonte Area School District  |  Posted on

It all started off with a bet. That’s how English teacher Jessica Lloyd explained how the latest issue of Red and White student newspaper came to be printed in color for the first time since she’s been the adviser. Lloyd inherited the program more than 10 years ago, bringing skills and knowledge of English and experience from writing for the Penn State – DuBois newspaper while in college. “We were all just kind of talking about color in print and had a bet on it,” she said. “We were all guessing how much we thought it would cost to print in color, and it went from there and was really exciting.”

Guesses were as high as $900, but in the end, it cost the program $370 to print 1,000 copies. Red and White is printed regularly by the Lewistown Sentinel and issues are distributed three times a year. The latest in-color edition was distributed on March 14. But growth of the program includes more than a newspaper with color content. Lloyd said when she took on the role as adviser in the 2011-12 school year, the newspaper was printed differently than a traditional newspaper. It morphed from what she called “a little journal type publication” to news print. In the 2018-19 school year, a website was created that highlights a variety of stories in five sections.


“One conscious effort I’ve been making is to be sure the kids are more in control of it,” Lloyd said. “When I first started, I was the one brainstorming stories and assigning it, and now it’s all student-run. Kids come up with all the stories and we have student editors that work to assign it.”

Student positions include content manager, copy editor, design and layout editor, general reporter, photographer, web editor and more. “This year, we’ve been able to branch out our stories to find what’s most important to people and not necessarily following a specific theme,” said junior Davis Corman, content manager. “It focuses on a lot of features that are important to the community and have the most direct impact on them.”

As content manager, Corman is responsible for managing story ideas and helping the team work as a group to spark discussion on ideas, assignments and figuring out what section submissions go toward. Stories often include human interest pieces, hard-hitting news and the localization of trends to how issues affect the Bellefonte school community.

In its 85th year, Red and White is a student-run club complemented by a journalism class, also taught by Lloyd, where students learn the inner workings of a newsroom, and then put skills to use in order to create print and online publications.

For junior Pauline Alterio, a photographer, she said she not only learned about newswriting, but also managing content and student colleagues. “Even if we all have different responsibilities, we still have a common goal to create something meaningful,” she said.