Here is where you'll find class announcements, links to examples of good journalism and design, and other journalism-related information.

2014-15 WSPN Staff

posted May 20, 2014, 12:24 PM by   [ updated May 20, 2014, 5:52 PM ]

2014-2015 WSPN Staff


Executive Board:

Whitney Halperin, Editor-in-Chief

Mia Senechal, Editor-in-Chief


Editorial Board:

Nina Haines, Managing Editor - News and Co-Copy Editor

Thomas Chan, Copy Editor

Nandita Subbiah, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Angela Park, Features Editor

Willis Zetter, Sports Editor

Ben Porter, Opinion Editor

Elena Erdekian, Multimedia Editor

Lauren Simon, Multimedia Editor

Eli Bucher, Webmaster

Nate Sommerfield, Business Manager



Sana Gilani, Pakistani Plates

Anna Hubble and Kathleen Barrow, Scrambled

David Flynn and Luke Xu, Tech Corner

Brendan Lau, Wandering Backpack

Willis Zetter, Warrior Weekly


How important is editing?

posted May 9, 2014, 7:57 AM by

If you think you can just hand in any kind of mess and let the editors deal with it, check out this lovely little interlude.

And believe me, others will notice.

OK -- these guys make a living out of creating controversy. Still, it's a good lesson for all you reporters. What's your take-away?

First Amendment Challenge: Neshaminy High School, Langhorne, PA

posted May 6, 2014, 8:09 AM by   [ updated May 6, 2014, 8:34 AM ]


The editors of the Neshaminy High School newspaper (The Playwickian) voted to reject advertisements and edit out or otherwise omit the term "Redskin" (their school nickname) stating that the term was offensive and therefore did not belong in their publication.

Tuesday night at a Neshaminy school board policy committee meeting, the
>board recommended a revised policy in regards to all school publications.
>This policy which is 9 pages in length, covers a variety of topics,
>including social media, electronic publications, school officials'
>authority, common procedure-- and our mascot controversy.  In section 10
>of the proposed policy, the board states that the editors of the paper
>may not attempt to establish itself as a public forum, may not attempt to
>reject advertisements, or enforce their policy to edit out or otherwise
>omit the term "Redskin."  In addition, they took the audacious step to
>state "the term shall not be construed as a racial or ethnic slur" -
>dictating to the students, teachers and community how they should feel
>about a word.
>On Tuesday, May 6, the Neshaminy School Board will be voting on these
>punitive revisions that place many constraints on we, the editors of the
>Playwickian. This meeting will be held at Maple Point Middle School in
>Langhorne, Pa. at 6:30 PM in the District Office's Board Room. We ask and
>encourage anyone who believes in student press rights to attend this
>meeting or email/call our school board directors and comment on this new
>policy recommendation before it is solidified.   (Hearing now delayed until May 21st.)

*** Note: Pennsylvania's standard for censorship of student publications:
  1. Can my school restrict what I can say in the school-sponsored student newspaper?

    Under Pennsylvania law, school officials can block the publication of an article or newspaper only if it contains material that is false and injures a person’s reputation, is harmful to minors because of its sexual content, or would cause a serious disruption of school activities. They are not allowed to censor a school newspaper just because it criticizes the school or school officials. Otherwise, students are free to report the news just like contributors to other newspapers. School officials can require that all student articles be reviewed by a school official before they are published.

Student Press Law Center letter to the Neshaminy school board

Foothill Dragon Press response


1.  What is the essential question here?

2. Who do you think is in the right? The paper or the school administration?

3.  How do we want to respond, if at all?

Academy of Media Production (AMP) Summer Camp

posted May 5, 2014, 11:05 AM by Mary Barber

July 7 - August 1st
With Boston University's Academy of Media Production.
Complete media experience for High School Students (video, tv, film, radio, web)

If you are bright, creative and eager to develop your communication skills, four weeks at the Academy of Media Production will change your life!

See Mrs. Barber for a 10% discount if you wish to attend.

Accuracy in Journalism

posted Mar 6, 2014, 10:06 AM by

A letter from former WSPN reporter Aaron Kano-Bower (class of 2011):

Hi Mrs. Karman,
Glad you enjoyed my email. Here's the article in question:
Inconsistencies or possible errors I noticed in the first bit of it include the unemployment rate being "about 13%", where other sources put it at either 6.7% or 14.7% depending on whether you include "workers marginally attached to the workforce" (which includes many part-time workers). I couldn't find anyone else saying 13%. The youth unemployment rate of 14% is similarly not supported; the most recent figures were 16.1%. A more egregious error is this statement: "This rate [labor participation] has dropped most noticeably [bolding mine] for men and women in their prime earning years between the ages of 25 and 54 and is up only slightly for those 55 and over." That's simply wrong: according to official government figures, the labor participation rate has dropped around 15% for youth since 2000, dwarfing the 4% drop overall and the even smaller drop for those age 25 to 54. After that part, it goes into some analysis and opinion that honestly, I find somewhat convincing, but I'm hesitant to listen to the opinion of someone who didn't take the time to look up the official figures (which btw can be found right here, the 2013 Economic Report of the President):

You really do need to read very carefully and double-check the figures quoted to notice the ways in which the article seems untruthful. Most of facts given in the article aren't egregiously wrong, not everything is skewed, and there's a lot that a student or teacher would find to agree with in there, all of which is part of what makes it even harder to notice the faults.

"New study shows how newspaper inaccuracies transcend journalism cultures, national borders"

Connecticut Health Investigative Team Summer Camp

posted Feb 6, 2014, 10:58 AM by Mary Barber

 One-week camps are held in July at Yale University, the University of Connecticut and Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Ct.
Students learn how to find and report news stories, how to mine online databases for their stories and meet professional journalists from The New York Times, The Hartford Courant, WNPR and other news outlets. They also go on a field trip to a radio station or newspaper and finish the week by writing their own investigative stories, which we then publish at

Application and further information can be found here.

Deadline Dates Have Been posted

posted Feb 6, 2014, 9:12 AM by Mary Barber   [ updated Feb 6, 2014, 9:14 AM ]

Honors Project, Portfolio and Production Goal has been posted under:
Project: Honors Project
Portfolio: Portfolio & Productions Goal

Journalist of the Year: Due March 1st

posted Feb 3, 2014, 5:20 PM by Mary Barber   [ updated Feb 3, 2014, 6:12 PM ]

It’s time to seriously start thinking about Massachusetts  Journalist of the Year<> applications.  Compiling this portfolio is no small task and you will want the next few weeks to really look at your work and put it together. Last year Massachusetts only had one.   It’s such a great reflective experience. The winner will be forwarded on to JEA headquarters for entry into the National JOY competition being judged at the San Diego convention in April.

Scholarship funds — $3,000 for the top winner, and $850 each for runners-up (up to six runners-up awards are usually given) — are released to the student after the winners are announced.

Q2 Due Dates Have Been Posted Under Projects & Portfolio

posted Dec 1, 2013, 1:01 PM by Mary Barber   [ updated Dec 1, 2013, 1:01 PM ]

Grades will be done a bit differently this quarter.  Honors projects are due before break, on December 18th.
Portfolio and reflection is due January 7th, with the added component of setting up a meeting time to go through it with Ms. Karman & Ms. Barber the following week.
Story goal is 5 this quarter.
Editors report is due January 15th.

See Projects and Portfolio pages for details.

New England Center for Investigative Reporting Summer Journalism Workshop

posted Nov 5, 2013, 11:02 AM by Mary Barber   [ updated Nov 5, 2013, 11:04 AM ]

Intensive two-week summer 2014 workshops have just been announced.  Session Dates:
  • Session 1: June 30 - July 11
  • Session 2: July 14 - July 25
  • Session 3: July 28 - August 8
All programs run Monday - Friday from 9am to 4pm.
Cost $2,200/per session.
Go to to find online application and click on the "apply Now" button.

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