Journalism one  is an academic elective in the English and language arts curriculum offered by upper school English teachers Deborah Mayer and Cailyn Callaway. When the course started during the 2021-2022 school year, it was offered during FLEX. This year that process is continued, but next year Journalism one will be offered as an educational elective.  Along with Art Appreciation, Digital Photography and two sequential years in Journalism, Journalism one is a course required for students to receive their journalism and graphic arts concentration

The course is designed to prepare students for Maclay’s yearbook and newspaper classes, so they can get right into the process of writing and designing once they join the elective.  Students will then be able to use class time more effectively to work on classroom etiquette and production. Prior to opening a new class, Mayer realized that Maclay did not provide a course that teaches the basics of journalism. Her previous school offered four different levels of journalism classes, Journalism one and two for beginners and Journalism three and four for trained staff who direct production. After feeling the need to create a class with the same purpose at Maclay, she created Journalism one to give students a taste of what journalism is like.

“There was a need for it,” Mayer said. “Mrs. Callaway and I did not have time in our newspaper or yearbook classes, which focused more on production. Mr. Beamer wanted to create a core curriculum for journalism, not just production classes.”

The course mainly covers the history of journalism, legal issues associated with journalism and basics of writing. In addition, the class also studies reporting, interviewing, editing, photography, advertising and design. 

“I chose to take it as a sophomore to take the knowledge of what I’m learning this year throughout the rest of my high school instead of waiting so I can use it and apply it for Yearbook,” sophomore Gray Burleson said. “We’re learning right now how to write captions, so it’s really just additional help.”

The course involves more than one teacher, allowing students to expose themselves to a variety of new concepts. Mayer mostly covers information related to yearbook, while Callaway focuses more on newspaper and editorial writing skills. Library Director, David Low, teaches film and video production, which is another essential element of journalism that draws the public and generates better communication with the audience.

“What excites me the most is that the newspaper staff learns what the yearbook staff does and the yearbook staff learns what the newspaper staff does,” Mayer said. “They are journalists, but they serve different purposes.”

Mayer and Callaway are planning to expand the class by incorporating it as a normal class offered during regular school blocks in the following years. They hope to introduce journalism to more students and get more people interested since Journalism one teaches the basics behind both the newspaper and yearbook classes.

“We’re hoping other students also see the value in it,” Callaway said. “Even if you aren’t intending to be a journalist in the future or join future publications, it’s still a great course to really hone in your writing skills and just learn more about the 21st century media.”