Tag Archives: High School Journalism

macksmack staff racks up 10 state journalism awards — 1st place in environmental reporting

 

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Anthony Beron, editor of macksmack, accepting one of 6 journalism prizes

by Janaya Andrews

Winning 1st place award in environmental reporting, macksmack journalists swept a total of 10 awards in the California Press Women high school journalism contest.

“What an awesome win,” said Pamela Tapia, one of the blog’s advisors and a McClymonds graduate.

“We were competing against the wealthiest, best-funded, most tech-savvy suburban, private and parochial high schools in California,” she added.

First place in environmental writing went to Sana Saeed, a 2013 graduate, who tackled the toxins in lipstick in her piece “Is My Lipstick A Lethal Weapon?” Her story was also entered in the National Federation of Press Women high school contest.

Two seniors won top photo awards, Jonae Scott with a 2nd place in sports photography and Luckie Lovette with 3rd place in feature photography for a photo essay on tattoos.

“We pulled it off with the least expensive cameras — sometimes borrowed — and without high tech devices, lighting equipment or digital enhancements,” said Tapia.

Senior Lee Benson won 3rd place in environmental writing for writing “Eco-cool”, which discussed a rising trend in students bicycling to school.

Macksmack editor Anthony Beron racked up six awards, including 3rd place in news writing for a piece on the murder of classmate Denzel Jones in February. He won 2nd and 3rd places in environmental reporting, 3rd place in sports for a piece on the lone male cheerleader at McClymonds and 2nd place in opinion writing for a piece on vegetarians eating in the school cafeteria-

He also won an honorable mention in feature writing for a piece on the digital divide hurting student grades.

The awards ceremony took place at UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism on March 12.

 

 

Why Censorship is F****ng Stupid

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by Khristan Antoine

Like any other art work, journalism has its own beauty and language.  But what happens when that language is simply not enough?  As student journalists, we are handcuffed by rules that say we can’t use certain words like sh*t, p*ss, f*ck, c*nt, c*cks*cker, motherf*cker, and t*ts.

We resort  to using words  that tame the real, strong emotion behind a significant quote even if it was uttered in the heat of the moment: just last week, an ecstatic Lady Warrior, who recently won the OAL championship after 37 years of deadends, said “We f***ing go.” And we had to use asterisks. In some school newspapers, we couldn’t even use the asterisks or the word.

For f*ck’s sake, we can’t even write a review of a rap album because we won’t be able to quote verbatim a decent lyric that portrays the meaning of the song entirely or precisely.

And there are myriad other examples. In an interview with a student for another story, the student talked about how her parents told her to wash the dishes and she sat on her butt and continued watching TV.  After a while, they began to lose their patience and resorted to the language we all know as authoritative.  She heard a loud bang and a scream that pierced the atmosphere.  “Get your fu***ng a$$ up and do the God da*n dishes!”  As she told us, “sh*t just got serious. ”

Cuss words carry the emotion of the person speaking them. They don’t necessarily harm or insult anybody but they make a strong impression. They change the tone of the conversation.

Words were never meant to be “bad.”  Who gets to decide what is acceptable or not? I fuc**ng think words, all kinds of words, are just that:  words. They were designed to fulfill their purpose to communicate  and express emotion.  If a word achieves its purpose, does it cease to be a good word?  What a silly thing to suppose that words are bad or good.

A word is only as good or as useful as its context.  As some may argue, cuss words  detract from the eloquent nature of language, allowing for a lazier approach to social intercourse (you can SAY intercourse, but not the F word).

What censorship fails to address is inequality:  not everyone has access to an education that provides the tools necessary to develop a more extensive vocabulary fit for use in society or even fit for a high school journalism blog.

I  s**t  you not, sometimes words unify and make it easier to have significant conversations — break ups, family showdowns, disciplinary lectures, just plain hurt feelings.

I do not believe “cuss words” should be the only words used in a daily interaction.  There should be a professional level to everything and anything discussed or shared but cuss words unite us all. They’re so basic that there’s no possible miscommunication.

Mack lures transfer students — with sports and community

Breannie Robinson Aronisha Smith, 16 College Ready

by Anastasia Walton

Most transfer to McClymonds for sports, but others yearn for community, after feeling lost in the shuffle of students on bigger campuses like O’High, Tech or Skyline.

Some even come from afar: Vallejo, Manteca, or even San Francisco.

Jenero Rodriguez, sophomore, wakes up at 7:30  am,  gathers his backpack and books and heads for the door.  If he catches the 8:10 am bus from North Oakland he might make it on time for Spanish class.

Rodriguez is starting a new school year at a new campus with new faces, 33 of them (out of 265 students). After wearing a Bulldogs uniform for one year, he proudly dons a Warriors orange and black jersey.

According to the Oakland Unified School District’s student assignment office; there were twelve 9th graders, eleven 10th graders, three 11th graders, and seven 12th graders who transferred to Mack this current school year.

Like Rodriguez, Louis White, junior, 16, switched from Tech to McClymonds and to Mack’s Silver Bowl winning football team.

“The teachers at Mack really care.  They take the time to help you and make sure you get the material, unlike the teachers at my school [Tech],” stated White.

Who are these new faces you might ask? Well it was a question I was asking myself as well. I wanted to know whether the transition was easy and how they adjusted. The main difference, students said, was the encouragement from staff to prepare for college.

Jermaine McCann, an 11th grader said “The staff really pushes you and talks about college, where at my other school, they barely even brought up college.”  “Mack is  one big family,” he added.

Students who leave McClymonds are usually looking for more AP classes and more extracurricular activities, says Rolanda McGhee, Care Manager.

Fitting in at McClymonds may be easier than integrating elsewhere. Principal Kevin Taylor  said, “Students at Mack are very friendly and open so it isn’t hard for new students to settle in. As for the staff, I don’t really think they mind helping to teach a new mind.”