Features 4/7/11

Evolution of The Roar

By Angelina Folchi

The student newspaper at LHS, The Roar, was launched over a decade ago, and it has slowly evolved to become what it is today: a four-page newspaper with a front page for hard news, an opinion/editorial page, a features page and a sports page, with various features throughout.

Dave Bowling, the former art teacher at LHS, published the newspaper before the turn of the century, until he retired in 1999. Bowling produced the monthly paper using tabloid paper, which is the size of The Sierra Booster. The entire newspaper was completed on typewriters; stories were typed in columns, cut out, laid out on paper and then taken to a local printer and run off. After Bowling retired, The Grizzlies’ Roar wasn’t produced for a year, because no staff teacher was ready to take on the huge responsibility of teaching the class.

English teacher Janet McHenry was approached in 2000 about taking over the paper, and she accepted. McHenry has a college journalism major from UC Berkeley and worked for a daily newspaper for four years in Kansas, so she was excited about being in charge of a small school paper. Her one condition for producing the paper was that the entire thing had to be done on computers, which didn’t arrive until halfway through the 2000-2001 school year. McHenry and her editors then took the time the learn the new computer program, Adobe Pagemaker, and the newly-improved Grizzlies’ Roar didn’t come out until March of 2001. Meanwhile, the journalism students wrote stories and published them in The Sierra Booster.

McHenry had the idea to start the online Roar last year, because she found herself with sixteen students and not enough positions for them all. Instead of dropping some of the bright students, she decided to expand the journalism program, starting the online blog and also taking responsibility for students’ delivery of the announcements every morning.

The school newspaper hasn’t undergone any major changes since McHenry became publisher, but some subtle changes have been made as to how the paper has been produced. Floppy disks were used to transfer stories until just a few years ago, when the easy-to-use USB flash drives became popular. A new version of Adobe Pagemaker came out several years ago, which made it a lot easier to lay out the stories and pictures on the computer.

Editors struggled with picture quality in the past for various reasons. Cameras didn’t have as many pixels, there weren’t programs on the computer to edit the photos, and the copiers decreased the picture quality after the newspapers were run off. Recently, however, picture quality has greatly improved.

The name of the student newspaper has evolved as well: it started off as The Grizzly’s Roar, was changed to The Grizzlies’ Roar, and now is simply The Roar.

McHenry recalls her best and worst moments as newspaper publisher. The worst was when she fired an editor-in-chief, who skipped school on publication day without good reason. McHenry’s favorite moments as journalism teacher were the times when The Grizzlies’ Roar was able to publish new scoops before they came out in local newspapers.

McHenry said journalism is one of her favorite classes to teach, because it has a casual atmosphere, and the students get to work together to produce something academic. She mentioned that she has always taught “ethical journalistic principles” and she strives for accuracy and objectivity. McHenry concluded by saying, “I’ve always had a love for the news.”

  1. Niecea Freeman

    riveting article gina

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