Carmel High School’s HiLite changes with the times
By Mark Ambrogi
In the ever-changing world of journalism, Carmel High School’s HiLite has one advantage.
“The one thing that high school journalists can do even more than the professional press is be nimble,” said Jim Streisel, HiLite advisor and CHS communications teacher. “It’s a learning lab. You have the opportunity to reinvent yourself.”
Streisel, the HiLite’s full-time advisor since 2002 and previously associate advisor since becoming a CHS teacher in 1995, said his goal is not just to put the product out but instead to teach the students to be information gathers and to be savvy media consumers.
Streisel said the HiLite moved from a 16-page bi-weekly broadsheet to a 32-page monthly tabloid-sized newsmagazine in 2009-10. In 2014-15, it moved to a smaller format 56-page newsmagazine. The website is used for breaking news and additional content.
“We can explore new trends,” Streisel said. “Since we are not dictated by clicks and page views, we can move around and try different things and see what works without the fear that if we make a mistake that all of sudden we are going to fold.”
Christine Fernando is one of the HiLite’s four managing editors, all seniors, for the 2015-16 school year. The others are Christine Fernando, Emma Love and Shakeel Zia.
“The HiLite has made a lot of changes recently to accommodate the new avenues of multimedia,” Fernando said.
HiLite has social media and online directors.
“We’re working to integrate social media and web into our coverage,” Fernando said. “It’s a new way to keep readers involved. We’re working with our staff to have more bloggers to create content.”
Love said the HiLite does a good job keeping its website updated.
“I’ve learned how much work it takes to get the information out there constantly to keep people reading and how important that is,” she said.
Zia said the staff has become more active on social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“This way we can continue to reach out to people who may not even be current readers,” Zia said.
Fernando said branding has been changing a lot.
“Our advisor tells us as journalists we are own brand,” said Fernando, who is considering pursuing journalism in college. “We discuss a lot about branding and have our own online presence with blogs or whatever we do.”
Lianne Yu, the editor-in-chief, said there has been more focus on the community.
“I think as our stories got bigger especially with cover stories we thought it was more important to study issues that weren’t only important in our high school but in our community as well,” Yu said.
The HiLite has a staff of 90.
“People that go through journalism at Carmel aren’t necessarily looking to go into journalism although some are,” Streisel said. “They get into the program because it offers them something that perhaps they are not getting in other classes. It gives them a chance to really make a difference in the lives of Carmel High School students. They learn what I call transferable skills — the ability to meet deadlines, the ability to troubleshoot and to time manage in a real world scenario.”