Letters From The Editors: Shoutout to the pilgrims


Justin Curto and Jena Smith

Welcome back to Letters From The Editors. As you know, we have a lot going on in our lives. Managing our time isn’t always the easiest thing between AP classes, college preparations (LOL) and social lives. On top of regular high school student stressors, we also happen to run a school news website called Mill Valley News and are responsible for coordinating everything that happens on it. Because of these things, we are more than excited for Thanksgiving break this year.

We have been glued to our phones since August, which isn’t favorable. It’s reached the point where we’ve begun to feel guilty during times where we can’t have our phones on us to respond right away to staffers texts. In J-Curt’s words, “I literally get stressed when I can’t have my phone on me and I know web stuff is going on.” That being said, it’s hard to have quality time with our loved ones without thinking about the web. Having a few days where we’re not obligated to check our phones promises to be be a very refreshing experience.

After Tuesday afternoon, we won’t really have to post content on the website for almost a whole week, save for football championship coverage. So, we’ll actually get time to catch up on applying for college and scholarships, hanging out with friends and family, sleeping and doing things we enjoy like cooking and watching football. As cliche as this may sound, you honestly have no idea how appealing this break is to us.

We’ll be taking a break from blogging next week to focus on things that aren’t related to journalism for a bit. Though we’re not ready to give up the website for good, a break will be exciting and we’ll hopefully come back ready to create more stellar web content. So, shoutout to the Pilgrims for laying the groundwork for Thanksgiving so we can have a much-needed break.

Lessons of the week:

J-Curt: This week, I’ve gotten to see some of the magnitude of what we do as high school journalists. After senior Adri Talavera wrote an amazing profile of custodian Rhonda Jensen for the JagWire, I’ve been hearing positive comments about the article from lots of students, and seeing Facebook and Twitter likes from people who don’t usually engage with our content. Rhonda even told us she loved the story. Also, I profiled The Greeting Committee, a local band, for my blog after writing about the band after its extended play released in March. After seeing the success the band has seen in recent months, I can’t help but think my initial blog post played a miniscule role in its rise to local fame. If nothing else, the members seemed to enjoy talking to me, and I’m glad to have been able to tell their story.

Jena: After an editor meeting earlier this week, we (the Mill Valley News and JagWire editors-in-chief) decided to have status report meetings with all of the JagWire staffers. Past editors have done them, and I think these meetings are super important. We’ll sit down (literally, leadership psychology rocks) with each staffer and discuss how they’re doing and offer constructive criticism. I love these meetings because it gives both us EICs and the staff time to reflect and improve upon ourselves as team members and journalists. So, this week, I learned that to get better, it’s vital that we reflect on how things are going.

That’s all … for now.

P.S. We won some awards at the Fall National High School Journalism Convention, including placing seventh in the best of show competition for small school news websites. If you remember, we were stressed and excited about this last week, but now we’re just proud and ready to take home more hardware for the website in the future.

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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