Howdy! I’m a senior at Carmel High School and this is my third year on our newspaper staff, the HiLite. The following is how I meet the state of Indiana’s high school journalism standards.


Students understand the history, development, and function of a free and independent press in the United States.

The first amendment, in the Bill of Rights written by James Madison, allows US citizens freedom of speech and freedom of press. Both of these rights are important to journalism because journalism is essentially reporters speaking out in the form of the press. Without the first amendment we would not have the same press we have today, there would either be only facts and no perspectives or no facts and only opinions. Either one of those scenarios would not be as effective as the current press because individuals would not be able to be informed from every angle and given all the information they need to truly think about and form their own opinion about a topic.


Students understand and apply knowledge of legal and ethical principles related to the functioning of scholastic journalism in the United States.

The first step I take when being assigned photos is not picking up a camera, but contacting the group or person I’m photographing to make sure they are ok with it. I plan ahead with them for a certain day so they can be prepared. If necessary, before we print, I contact the source again and check that they are ok with the photos and the quotes I’ve gotten from them.


When editing photos, I understand that the photos cannot be distorted beyond what actually, physically, happened. A photographer’s job is not to create or rewrite history, only to capture it. In Photoshop I don’t get rid of elements, flip the image, combine photos, or any other manipulation that could betray how the viewers trust my photos as a source. When using Photoshop I only color correct, crop, or make cut-outs.


My junior year we (our 2018-2019 staff) made a video promoting New Voices. I videotaped some of the interviews, link to the video below. New Voices promotes passing state laws that give more freedoms to high school journalists. The point of New Voices is to promote the new high school voices of the nation by working to undo the Hazelwood School District v Kuhlmeier Supreme Court ruling of 1988. The case followed after a Missouri school’s principal chose to remove a spread on divorce and teen pregnancy from the school newspaper. The question of the case, according to, was “Did the principal's deletion of the articles violate the students' rights under the First Amendment?” And the decision was that the principal was allowed to regulate what the students wrote in order to keep social order. The decision allows public schools’ administration to censor school-sponsored press and speech. This includes newspapers, yearbooks, tv stations, radio stations, and any other school-sponsored ways students voice themselves. It’s important that this be rewritten because while in place it tells students that they do not have first amendment rights in school. Supporters of administration censorship argue that freedom of speech could hurt individuals when it comes to sensitive topics involving health records, school records, shootings, pregnancies, mental health, and gender. But with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) still in place newspapers can only publish sensitive topics with the source and parental consent, using only sources that are comfortable with sharing about themselves. New Voices would help to give high school students freedom to speak about rough topics and to learn about rough topics.


Visit these links to learn more about New Voices

The Student Press Law Center

CHS HiLite’s New Voices promotion video


Students discuss ideas for writing with others. They write coherent and focused stories that demonstrate well-researched information, appropriate journalistic structure and style, and a tightly reasoned flow of ideas. Students progress through stages of journalistic writing processes.

At the beginning of each news cycle, section editors hold maestros where they assign photographers, reporters, and graphics artists to content and draw a rough draft of what the spreads will look like. This is where I learn what I’m taking photos of, the angle of the story, and my deadlines. After source deadline, I talk with the reporter to get their specific sources and contact info for the sources. I then contact the source and set up a time and place to take the photos. After the photos are taken I submit them to the editor who assigned them to me. The editors then show me what photos they plan on using and sometimes I write a caption describing the who, what, where, when, and why. I try to take the photos as soon as I can so that near the end of the news cycle I’m not pressed for time and if I need to retake photos to fit the spread or angle of the story better, I have time.


Students write news stories, features stories and columns, in-depth issue features, reviews, editorials, or opinions and commentaries effectively and accurately in print and media, while adhering to legal and ethical standards for scholastic journalism. Students demonstrate an understanding of the research, organizational, and drafting strategies in the journalistic writing processes. Student writing demonstrates a command of Standard English and the use of media formats that follow Associated Press style manual guidelines for consistency.

I take a variety of types of photos: sports, portraits, action, events, performances, still-lifes, candid, posed, familys, food, landscapes, and products.


When writing captions for photojournalistic photos I tend to follow a certain formula. I start off with a catchy title, then in the first sentence I give the who, what, where, when, and sometimes the why. In the second sentence I do one of two things, I either share a quote from the subject, or invite the viewers of the photo to attend future events. An example is the following caption with the title “Choked Up”, “Laney McNamar and Shawn Horrocks, Comedy Sportz members and juniors, improvise in a skit during a Comedy Sportz competition on Feb. 22. Audiences can come cheer on the Comedy Sportz team tonight at 7 p.m. in the Studio Theater.”


Students write within an established production cycle, meeting deadlines and following Associated Press style manual guidelines for consistency. Students analyze, evaluate, and critique their own work and that of others as they improve future publications or media based on feedback. Students on newspaper or magazine staffs demonstrate their ability on PUB.5.1 and PUB.5.2. Students on yearbook staffs demonstrate their ability on PUB.5.3 and PUB.5.4.

I use my google calendar religiously. On there I have all my planned photoshoots, deadlines, personal deadlines, and other activities. An organized calendar helps me turn in photos to editors on time. When assigned photos at maestros I make sure to contact sources as soon as I can to avoid missing deadlines.


I use our HiLite style manual, which has Associated Press guidelines plus CHS-specific terms, for consistency while writing captions and while proofreading.

Performance Guideline 6 MEDIA CONVERGENCE

Students write and develop multimedia formats that mix audio, video, and data.

I have presented my photos to audiences in various formats. Viewers can find my photos in printed copies of the HiLite or on the HiLite’s website and social media. Viewers can also find my photos here, on my online portfolio.


Students understand the organization, economics, and management of media staffs. They explore career paths and further educational opportunities in journalism.

Most of my leadership on the HiLite staff has been on a smaller scale. Instead of leading large groups of staff or being an editor, I’ve worked on doing the best I can personally and helping out when needed. I’ve helped out by teaching newbies and anyone who wants to learn how to use manual camera settings (or just how to use camera period), letting people borrow sd cards when they open their camera and there isn’t one in there, and charging borrowed equipment before returning it to the classroom. I also helped our 2018-2019 Managing Editors create a “How to use a camera” powerpoint and learn a camera inside and out so they could answer questions for their Management Minute (a quick lesson from management to the staff at the start of each class).


Career-wise, I’ve looked into a future in photojournalism. In the fall of 2020 I’ll be attending Western Kentucky University, studying photojournalism and performing arts with a concentration in theatre design & technology. I enjoy taking photos and have already started a portrait business. I have taken photos at local events for family, neighbors, my church, and local businesses.

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