Katie Tan, Media
The Columbia Scholastic Press Association has been critiquing high school journalism programs for years, and recently they evaluated NCHS’ Courant. All news publications are evaluated upon specific critiques that total to a numerical score. Bronze medalists fall in the range below 600 points, silver medalists awarded fall between the range of 600 and 799, and finally gold medalists fall within the range of 800 and 1,000 points. They consider the essential, visual, and verbal aspects of each publication and grade each newspaper based off their attention to each feature. The Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s website explains that their mission is carried out when, “The judge writes out comments and makes constructive suggestions for building on current strengths and correcting deficiencies noted in the Critique.”
Every year the Courant submits their hybrid newspaper and website to be critiqued by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. The 2016-2017 Courant staff earned a total score of 853 landing them in the gold medalist range. Although the Courant takes a lot of pride in this achievement, the critique is most valuable for the next Editors to make decisions regarding the future of the newspaper. According to journalism teacher and Courant advisor, Roman Cebulski, “It’s not that we don’t do it for the recognition, we do it because we want to get the feedback and then look at what are the areas that we want to focus on and where we need to improve,” he said. Their specific critiques evaluate each aspect of the hybrid newspaper and inspires new changes. For example, this year the Courant is working on producing content on a more frequent basis and refreshing their layouts.
Michael McAteer, who also co-teaches and advises journalism, celebrates the achievement and continues to submit to the program to show students that their work is guided by national standards. He says, “Because journalism is an elective many people don’t realize that there are national performance standards that guide the way we teach the class that guide the work students do in the class.” The critique from CSPA takes the NCHS journalism class from being a regular elective to a journalism team following guidelines that extended outside of the high school.