Letters From The Editors: Believe it or not, we got this


Justin Curto and Jena Smith

Welcome back to Letters From The Editors. For once, we’re planning for web pretty far in advance, and it’s a good feeling.

Part of what makes our preparedness feel so good is, like we mentioned in our last blog, we’re entering awards and competition season. We plan to start entering content for SNO Distinguished Site badges soon, and we just found out judges for this year’s Pacemaker will start looking over sites today. Having a plan for most of this quarter allows us to focus on more of the fine tuning needed to bring home hardware.

As first semester wrapped up, looking back we realized we had far too many gaps in our fall sports coverage. To combat undercoverage, we held a meeting with everyone who has a winter sports beat (which turned out to be the entire yearbook staff and around half of the newspaper staff), to compare winter sports schedules and our own schedules. We’ve assigned reporters and photogs, as well as scheduled live tweeting for a variety of winter sports events, in hopes that no team is left with major gaps in coverage.

Along with coordinating live tweeting, we helped our social media editors come up with a game plan for dividing up the work for social media coverage, as well as a way to keep track of what’s been posted and what hasn’t. We reviewed our expectations for social media and talked through some bumps in the road.Keep up with our awesome social media posts this semester by following us on Twitter (@millvalleynews) and by liking us on Facebook.

It was pretty hard to get started on brainstorming for our last two projects, but, thankfully, we already have an idea for third quarter’s. We can’t disclose too much yet, but the idea came from Habs this time, and it’s the JAG staff’s turn to put the project together. Knowing about our special project far in advance helps a lot, because it gives time to brainstorm individual posts, create an awesome logo and put everything through more than one round of edits — in short, it’s much less stress on us. You can expect to see more about the project in late February or early March, but trust us, it’s going to be a great one.

Check it out:

This semester, we’re going to start highlighting some of our favorite web content that’s gone up in the past week. This week, we’ve had some great basketball coverage, so you really should check it out. A few awesome yearbook and newspaper photogs stepped up to make photo galleries of the boys and girls team’s losses to Bonner Springs last Friday. Then, this past Tuesday, the yearbook staff wrote stories and took photos of the boys’ win and girls’ loss to Piper. If you haven’t looked at these posts yet, you really should, and you can expect even more awesome basketball coverage like this as the season goes on.

Lessons of the week

J-Curt: I always really liked the JAG staff, but this week especially reminded me why. In the past few days, I’ve had some fun conversations and laughs with JAG staff members, whether I’m in the J-room before school to finish math, for seminar or after school as the parking lot clears. Also, I even got interviewed and photographed for a part of this year’s yearbook, which was a funny and awkward experience on its own. (It’s pretty weird to have someone following you to take photos while you work on journalism.) But my favorite yearbook experience from the week has to be working on the J-room after school during a yearbook worknight. I ate the staff’s food, found out that I’m one of the parents to our resident pink stuffed monkey (with none other than junior Raya Lehan) and may have even become an honorary yearbook nerd, or yerd for short. Working with the JAG staff this year has been great, and I can’t wait to keep doing it for a semester.

Jena: This week, I’ve experienced what it feels like to be prepared. I’ve felt significantly less stressed, which is a blessing in so many ways. Being on top of everything from newspaper work to my (usually ongoing) web to-do list feels great. This being our third quarter as Mill Valley News editors-in-chief, we’re really getting the hang of day-to-day work. Third time’s the charm, and I’m excited to see what this quarter brings, for us as editors, and Mill Valley News as a whole.

That’s all … for now.

Seniors Justin “J-Curt” Curto and Jena Smith are the editors-in-chief of Mill Valley News online. They appreciate captioned photos, categorized and tagged stories, staff members who don’t text about web assignments at 11 p.m., teachers and students who talk about things they read on Mill Valley News and all things multimedia.

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