Adobe software helps award-winning Palo Alto journalism students shine

Students use InDesign software to create multi-page layouts, Photoshop software to edit and enhance photos, and Illustrator software to create more complex vector graphics. Students also organize thousands of digital assets using Adobe Bridge, which streamlines the workflow in a highly visual manner.

Following the integrated media approach essential in today’s publishing world, Paly’s journalism program also has moved beyond traditional journalism classes into broadcast journalism. In Focus, the television news station, serves to disseminate campus news and selected features to the school community with professionalism, humor, and unbounded creativity. Among multiple tools, students use Premiere Elements software to digitally edit content for in-depth, web-based video segments. All the student segments are uploaded daily to the program’s web site and streamed.  Also, student teams often create pieces that are regularly uploaded to YouTube.

As the journalism program continued to expand in 1999, Paly’s news and general feature magazine, called Verde, was launched. Verde is produced by students six times a year and showcases features, opinion articles, reviews, and an analysis of news. The first issue, published in 1999 with a team of 20 staff members, was an 80-page quarterly magazine that was received warmly by the campus community and the scholastic journalism community at large. Notably, that first issue won a Pacemaker–one of the two most prestigious awards in scholastic journalism–from the National Scholastic Press Association.

Rounding out Paly’s journalism program is the department’s newest addition, the sports magazine class. The Viking is published six times a year and is available both online and in print. Again, the student workflow includes components of Design Premium similar to The Campanile and Verde.

In today’s world, no program would be complete without web journalism, replete with social connectivity, blogging, and live feeds. The Paly Voice, a web site created using basic HTML and Dreamweaver software, debuted in 2002 with students presenting their own reporting, writing, and photography along with repurposed content from the school’s magazine, newspaper, and broadcast classes. In 2005 the site won two Webby Awards–an Academy Award and a People’s Award. The site serves as a searchable archive of the content from all Paly publications. Students are using Fireworks software to optimize graphics for web presentation, and Flash Professional software to create motion graphics for the web that are viewable with the free Adobe Flash Player.

The students are excited about having the freedom to express themselves in a variety of publications, and this excitement attracts many new students each year. Paly’s journalism teachers have found that Adobe tools and technology help students communicate their ideas effectively. The goal of the journalism program is to give students a proactive, creative outlet that is socially sanctioned and gives them a powerful voice in the community.

Esther Wojcicki teaches journalism at Palo Alto High School.

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