JESS Seventh Graders Learn Art of Publishing at St. John Tradewinds Office

Mrs. Browne’s JESS 7th grade reading class took a field trip to St. John Tradewinds. Pictured above: Tradewinds News Editor Jaime Elliott, Iesha Dawson, Alexa Richards, Shavoni Chichester, Tradewinds Publisher MaLinda Nelson, JESS teacher Eudith Browne and Syneda James.

Julius E. Sprauve School teacher Eudith Browne and five of her seventh grade developmental reading students got hands-on training at the St. John Tradewinds office on Tuesday, December 12.

The students, who are starting their own school magazine, learned what it takes to put together a publication, including coming up with and assigning story ideas, writing, editing and even advertising.

The field trip was a product of Browne’s efforts to make putting the magazine together more interesting, the teacher explained.

Learning Process
“We came today because we are doing our own magazine, and I wanted to make it more interesting,” said Browne. “When I told them we should write our own magazine, they got very excited. I thought it would be good for the students to find out how to put a newspaper together.”

St. John Tradewinds Publisher MaLinda Nelson began the presentation by discussing how to come up with story ideas.

“You want to write about what is going on in the community, including events like Christmas and Fourth of July, and anything that is relevant to the community,” said Nelson, who also stressed the importance of proactive reporting. “A large part of a newspaper’s job is to be proactive — not just reporting, but bringing change to a situation. To know that you are responsible for positive change in your community is very gratifying.”

Responsible Reporting
Nelson also explained the importance of fair and responsible reporting to the students.
“People call us and try to influence our reporting,” said Nelson. “We have to be very careful to be fair and not be influenced by people.”

The students were very involved in the discussion, and asked several questions, from how St. John Tradewinds got its name to whether the community newspaper competes with other Virgin Islands publications.

The seventh graders each showed interest in the different facets of publishing.

Iesha Dawson showed interest in getting out and talking to the public.

“I want to go out and ask people stuff, like their opinion on things,” said Dawson.

Writing and Advertising
Syneada James also would enjoy interviewing people, she explained.

“I would like talking to people,” said James.

Shavoni Chichester enjoys both writing and editing, she said.

“I like writing, and I’d like to be the editor,” said Chichester.

Alexa Richards hopes to share her creative side with the school’s news magazine, she explained.

“I would like to do advertising, and I want to be a cartoonist,” said Richards.

The students have already started working on the edition of their first magazine and plan to publish monthly.

The seventh graders have already chosen some issues that they hope to report on.

Reporting on Hair Style, Clothing and Trends
“We will write about hair style, tattoos and clothes,” said Dawson.

The students, with the help of the St. John Tradewinds staff, put together their own one-page newsletter for practice during their field trip, and each student left with a copy.

Keep an eye out for the Julius E. Sprauve School seventh grade reading class magazine, which will be coming out soon.