Every Wednesday at 1:50 p.m. the students in Amy Moore’s classroom turn their focus to a taped up whiteboard where their best ideas will be written down next to a deadline and corresponding …
Every Wednesday at 1:50 p.m. the students in Amy Moore’s classroom turn their focus to a taped up whiteboard where their best ideas will be written down next to a deadline and corresponding category. It’s a collaborative process between the students with guidance from Moore.
The Prowl, Powell High School’s student newspaper, is halfway through its sixth year. The content of last Wednesday’s news meeting was standard fare, but what made it notable was the publication had just earned its second consecutive 3A/4A All-State title a week earlier. The student paper was crowned the 3A/4A All-State Champion Newspaper for 2023-2024 by the Wyoming High School Student Press Association on Nov. 9.
Producing unbiased news
“I think we always lean on the concept of trying to be as unbiased as possible. That's one of our main things that we try to make sure we leave out the editorial voice until it's required,” said Emma Johnson, the editor-in-chief, after Wednesday’s news meeting, adding, “So from there, I think our overall perspective is to make sure that we keep the basic things basic enough that anyone can look at our stories and read [them] with the intent of learning something.”
Producing unbiased and easy to digest content is a group effort that makes all of them better writers and The Prowl a better news source, she said.
The Prowl’s website had to be submitted in October in order to be considered for the title of All-State Champion, and the work wasn’t done once the paper was submitted. The paper would be judged from last year’s academic year through this year, and it had to continue to meet criteria such as timely news, readable content, daily updates and grammatically correct content, Johnson said.
The Prowl also takes on new writers each year who need to learn the ropes in time for the website’s submission.
“They’ve done really well and that was probably the biggest thing … towards submitting our website for state,” associate editor Jimmy Dees said.
Work done by former staff also helped The Prowl take home the trophy.
“It's not just this current staff, it's also last year’s, so a lot of the award itself entails continuing the good manner of writing into the next semester and into the next school year,” Johnson said.
Passion for The Prowl
The students at The Prowl aren’t just writing for a grade, they are writing about the community and events they care about.
“I think that being able to learn about this stuff, as I'm reporting, is one of the coolest parts of being in the class and just creating content that others will actually like to read,” sophomore Nalani Jordan said.
It’s her first year at The Prowl but Jordan has already seen one of her stories gain traction. A story Jordan wrote about WyoPreps’ process for selecting athletes of the week is a “little controversial,” she said.
“It got recognized by WyoPreps, I think. They changed their terms on their website after I wrote the story,” Jordan said.
Sports editor Toby Sessions was recruited to The Prowl specifically because of his passion for sports, Johnson said. They needed a student who had passion for that topic and was also willing to give up their sixth hour to write about it.
“I think (the All-State win) is a real testament to the efforts that they put in as student journalists, this is a student run teacher supported class,” Moore said. “So everything that they've earned, they've earned it. It's on them, I'm happy to support them but they have a good program in place.”