Etched in Stone

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Editor’s Note: Great accountability, more productivity

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Starting last Monday, November 6, I started another method of keeping accountability consistent for Etched in Stone – it’s what I call a “legit storyboard.” A storyboard is typically a giant list of each writer’s name, with the story they are working on and a deadline beside it. We only have 13 people in the Journalism 2 class, so it’s very easy for us to display this on a whiteboard (if you’ve ever been in Mr. DeGear’s classroom, you’ve definitely seen it), which we started this year with the hope that it would help us cover a wide variety of topics and keep all of our writers accountable. However, I realized one day that, even with this system, it is difficult for us to keep track of who is publishing what on what day in a linear time line. I decided to take something I saw when I shadowed a reporter at the Fort Collins Coloradoan last year, and specifically write out what would be published on each day of the week. The reporters at the Coloradoan did it a bit differently of course, but this idea from a glimpse into a professional world allowed Etched in Stone to have it’s best week of the year, with 18 articles published.

Not only did we display people’s coverage commitment in the classroom, but I also sent out a group message each morning with who should have been publishing what on that day. This did wonders for our productivity and accountability, and will hopefully take Etched in Stone to the next level. While we did still have a couple reporters who went unpublished for the week, and some who dropped the ball on timely coverage, we are improving nearly every single day, and want to prove that we are a reliable place for news for the Fossil Ridge High School community. One of the best ways we can show our readers this is by having new, thoroughly-researched and well-written, interesting articles for students to read every day of the week.

What I’m also trying to get at here is this: I think an important lesson that everyone can learn, in everything they do, is that holding yourself accountable for a task can be difficult. But, it becomes worth it in the end. In Journalism, we don’t have a grade attached to every piece we published, and not even each week of class. Even I, as Editor-in-Chief, have to admit that I have a hard time willing myself to write my article when I would rather be lying in bed binge-watching Netflix. Even when I was a sophomore, we had next to zero accountability for the deadlines we set for ourselves, and I would put off writing an article for days. But, when we know that our peers know what we are supposed to be doing, and when our own lack of accountability is brought into the light, productivity becomes a different beast. It’s something that, though difficult to handle, we push ourselves towards, and put in the work to complete the task.

It’s another valuable lesson as a leader, too, to learn how to separate yourself and the job you have with your opinions towards your friends, and their’s towards you. Student leaders have a tough job: they often know what they are supposed to be doing, and what they should be telling the people they are trying to lead, but fear of resentment often gets in the way. Teachers have it a bit easier. They get paid no matter if all their students like them or not. Student leaders on the other hand (or at least me personally), can have a fear that if they’re too demanding towards their classmates, they’ll end up with no friends. This is something that I’ve been working to get past, and also try to remind my writers that me harassing them to write an article does not mean that I hate them, it simply means I want to see them achieve something. Most things in life happen that way.

Etched in Stone as a whole has certainly made great strides within the last week, and will continue with this going forward in the year. As always, if you are involved in something, or know of an event that we are not representing, please contact me or our advisor, Mr. DeGear.

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Editor’s Note: Great accountability, more productivity