Journalism Awaits New Classroom


The journalism teachers vicariously look at the blueprints hoping to see the real classrooms soon.

Olivia Moody, Newspaper Editor

The North Polk Journalism department anxiously awaits the new classroom dedicated to yearbook, newspaper and broadcasting. The addition will hopefully be done by fall 2021, but journalism teachers Jessica Trier and Tia Stubbs have their fingers crossed on an early finish.  

“I just want to start fresh. I hope everything goes ahead of schedule so we can go do that and start the new [school] year out with all this school stuff,” noted Trier.

Stubbs and Trier were excited to have a say in the technicalities for the layout and technology in the classroom. They spoke with architects and Scott Growdon, the director of technology, to configure things, such as outlet placing, table groupings, a green wall for broadcasting, and a window placed between the classroom and broadcast lab. 

Trier explained her thinking saying, “If students were working in there [broadcast lab], we still have visual contact on them for safety reasons.” 

Principal Seth Poldberg explains the inspiration behind the addition, “Partially from the original design for the “new wing” when the HS was built in 2013. In my previous district, we utilized a collaborative center/classroom, so I was pleased we were able to do that in the new wing.”

The teachers wanted the classroom to be a space that both broadcasting, newspaper and yearbook can utilize. The classrooms will include a journalism lab that will have a green wall for editing and filming, an anchor desk, as well as a sound booth for recording. There will be storage for cameras, desktops computers, tv and specially placed outlets for the other room that will be focused on more traditional teaching. 

Stubbs shares her opinion saying, “When we have that designated space and the necessary equipment, I think that it [journalism department] will grow exponentially.” 

A large part of journalism is the technology that it requires. The new classroom will also be provided with new gadgets to make the student’s jobs easier. While the budget for the technology is unclear, the schools deems the quality of the technology more important.

Growdon explains this, “If you have equipment that works well and does what you need, that might be less expensive than equipment that is like hey let’s get this really cool thing that’s really expensive.” 

Growdon is in charge of researching and purchasing the equipment for the journalism classrooms. His goal is to find equipment that works well together, is easy to use, and has integrated software. Currently, Growdon is looking at the Black Magic Television Studio. The nice thing about the set is that it is a computer and is hardware all in one. He also hopes to stay within the Black Magic company with the cameras as well. That would ensure that all of the equipment within the classroom would work together. 

Growdon explained that he would rethink his decision for the Black Magic Camera if the school was doing a higher-end broadcast. A studio camera costs around $18,000 but that could not be justified in the way that broadcasting uploads their videos. With his experience, Growdon notes that factors such as lighting, position, lighting and other external processes are how you create quality content. 

Growdon goes into depth saying, “Generally our product is not going over the air into people’s homes. Our product is going to go on most likely Youtube. If we spend a lot of money on getting 4k and 8k programming and then we upload it to Youtube and people are going to watch it in 720 [low quality].”

All in all, Growdon believes this will help better the quality and flow of the journalism department.  He explains, “We turn the light on and it’s going. You don’t have to worry about setting up that camera  because the cameras already set up… everything’s there.”

There is some speculation about Trier and the fact that she will now have two classrooms. Her existing English classroom and the new classroom. Trier and Stubbs might be moving back and forth between the J-Lab and a traditional classroom, as their teaching assignments change out each day. The goal is to have broadcasting and journalism classes going on at the same time, but in different spaces. 

Stubbs goes on to describe her objectives for the coming years of journalism, “Our goal is to be a timely and relevant news source for the North Polk Community and having the space to do that and the technology to do that will allow us to be successful.” 

Trier and Stubbs hope that the new classroom will make the journalism department more appealing to students, and boost student interest. 

Trier agreed with Stubbs when she said, “Journalism is such a practical way to use our communication skills. Even if you don’t plan on being a journalist, you can learn a lot of things from practicing the listening, speaking and writing skills that we do. I hope more students get involved, and join us as we enjoy our new space.”

Growdon says it best, “you can only set up a temporary studio in a classroom so many times.”