Cub scouts visit Highland Echo for lessons in journalism, photography

Cub scout Gabriel Grant snaps a close-up of fellow scout John Kaden Smith. Several of their photos can now be seen on the Highland Echo Facebook page. Photo Courtesy of Alex Cawthorn.
Cub scout Gabriel Grant snaps a close-up of fellow scout John Kaden Smith. Several of their photos can now be seen on the Highland Echo Facebook page. Photo Courtesy of Alex Cawthorn.

On Tuesday, March 15, the Highland Echo staff was visited by local Cub Scout troop 498. The visit was arranged by request of den mother, Elizabeth Reagan, as part of their program, for the members of the pack to experience what happens in a newspaper newsroom.

Six-year-olds Gabriel Grant and John Kaden Smirl, attended. The two boys go to Eagleton and Rockford Elementary, respectively.

During the presentation, each Echo editor spoke according to his or her particular job description.
Ariana Hansen, graphics editor, began the discussion using a PowerPoint to explain how she goes about organizing the layout of the newspaper. She discussed various key concepts such as layout, comic strips and aesthetic appeal using the metaphor of a giant puzzle to explain the task of preparing a paper’s layout.

Shawn Richards, web editor, explained how the online version of the paper functioned, pointing out all of its differences in comparison with the paper copy. To demonstrate, he showed the boys a discussion poll set up for a recent article one of our reporters was working on which asked people to contribute name ideas for our campus ducks.

Additionally, Mary Moates, editor-in-chief, elaborated on the fundamentals of what it takes to be a journalist and talked about news writing. During the conversation, Moates asked questions such as what they think is most helpful when is solving a mystery and what qualities it takes to be a journalist in order to teach them about the basic requirements of news articles.

Along with Ashlyn Kittrell, assistant editor, she explained the importance of asking who, what where, when, why before writing an article and that one of best ways to gather facts for a newspaper article is to interview someone who was there during the action.

Assistant editor Josh Loomis concluded the writing presentation by discussing the importance of interviews in any type of newspaper story.

Knowing that children are most responsive and engaged when entertained, the staff tried to make sure that the lessons on media remained educational while also interactive, namely in the photography portion of the presentation.

The boys were most fascinated by taking photos. Alex Cawthorn, photo editor, definitely captured the scout’s interest. She showed them the importance of photos in the newspaper since photos “are the first thing that someone usually notices and is initially drawn to” in an article.

When the scouts were given faculty advisor Kim Trevathan’s professional camera to experiment with, she told them about and how to focus, zoom and crop. The scouts snapped several photos of the staff.

After the meeting, when asked what his favorite part of the day was, the scouts had a hard time between deciding between eating cookies, helping name the ducks and learning how to take pictures. However, in the end, they decided that experiencing life behind the camera was unquestionably a newfound passion.
The Echo staff said they were glad to have contributed to the scouts’ learning experience, and hope to have them on the newspaper crew one day.

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