Letters From The Editors: State champions


Justin Curto and Jena Smith

Welcome back to Letters From The Editors. In our last blog, we were getting ready for Thanksgiving (read: relaxation time). More importantly, we mentioned our preparations for covering the state football championship.

State football wasn’t our first major event to coordinate coverage for, so finding a reporter and lots of photographers was a fairly easy task. On Saturday, we had 10 staffers between JAG, JagWire and MVTV travel to Pittsburg to cover our football team bringing home a state title. This proved stressful even before we (well, Jena — Justin just went to watch the game) left for Pittsburg.

For playoff games, the Kansas State High School Activities Association requires every person on the field to have a special press pass. Sadly, our homemade Mill Valley News press passes wouldn’t cut it. Going into the game, we were only given two press passes for the three Mill Valley News publications there. After talking with athletic director Jerald VanRheen, Habs came back with a handful of field passes and a smile on her face. So, thanks to Mr. VanRheen for doing whatever he had to do to give us as many passes as he did.

Press passes weren’t the only struggle from the state game, though. The temperature that day ranged from 30-40 degrees, with sleet during the second half. Keeping our reporters and photogs warm was difficult, especially for the ones who didn’t bundle up enough to face the weather. During the second quarter, Jena’s fingers were so cold that she couldn’t bend them to press the shutter on her camera anymore. Thankfully, during halftime, we huddled up around a giant space heater — intended for use by the football boys — to warm up.

Post-game, the student section stormed the field. Being in a large crowd and trying to avoid being trampled is difficult enough, but when you’re holding an expensive piece of equipment, it’s terrifying. Nonetheless, the photogs stuck around to get some great celebration photos, and the reporters talked to some players.

Upon return to Mill Valley, almost all of the journalism kids met in the J-room to start working on content. Habs ordered pizza and bought us doughnuts and Oreos, so we were set. By 10 p.m., our photo galleries and story were up and tweeted. That Monday, we compiled all our coverage into a nifty grid post, and that was that — state football coverage was over. Combining the story and photo galleries that went up from the game, according to Google Analytics, our view count was 2,980, more than double the amount of students that attend Mill Valley.

Huge thank yous go out to Habs, VanRheen and all the journalism kids that traveled to Pittsburg. We couldn’t have done it without you guys, and we’re so glad Mill Valley News got to cover such a huge event for the school.

Lessons of the week:

J-Curt: For the website and the newspaper, we have a ton of deadlines. I try my hardest to meet these deadlines, and I’m usually pretty successful. However, in the past weeks, I’ve been having some trouble meeting deadlines because of some complications with scheduling interviews. My final draft deadlines for many of these projects are now coming up, and so are all the interviews I wasn’t able to schedule. This is causing me to do a lot of things at the last minute, and they’re actually turning out pretty well. So, I guess I’m learning that, sometimes, deadlines and pressure can be very good things.

Jena: J-Curt and I have made a lot of mistakes this week, most of which wouldn’t have been an issue if we would have communicated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, communication is vital. Not just between J-Curt and I, but between us, Liz and the other staffers. As editors-in-chief, we need to work on communicating our ideas and solutions to problems to other staffers, so they’re not confused or feeling ignored.

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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