Staff reflects on a year on The Beat
June 26, 2012
The experiences were invaluable
It is not easy, remembering articles in the midst of junior-year chaos, and I will be the first to admit I have forgotten my fair share of due dates. However, I remain infallibly grateful for the opportunity The Issaquah Press has given us, allowing us an entire page to express the ideas, views and opinions of teenagers throughout the Issaquah area.
With all luck, The Beat will continue to expand and grow, because the experiences that I have taken from it are certainly invaluable.
I look forward to next year
I personally love The Beat because I can pursue my own passion in writing and do something useful — informing the community of what’s going on — at the same time. There’s a certain happiness I get from hearing someone else comment on an article of mine that he/she saw in the paper, a happiness that’s hard to match and even harder to beat.
I truly enjoyed working with my fellow journalists, photographers, business team and editor this year, and I can’t wait to continue my time at The Beat as an editor come fall. I have big shoes to fill, but I’m excited for what the future will bring to our publication
More than what meets the eye
The most important skill I gained this year is persistence. Being relentless is crucial to both becoming a better writer and to acquiring the money necessary for this page to exist.
In order for this page to run we needed nearly $5,000 for the school year. Getting that money seemed impossible. Everywhere we went we were turned down. But with persistence and the ability to think outside the box, we somehow managed to get the funding. Like a never-ending roller coaster, there were ups and downs trying to get the money needed for every month. We did fundraisers left and right and petitioned for donations, and somehow they worked every single time and the page still exists.
Sadly, next year will be my last year on The Beat. I will make it The Beat’s greatest year. I will use the skills I have gained every year so far on The Beat and utilize them to my fullest capacity to expand and grow this page to be the best it can be.
Up to this point I have gained so much in my adventures with The Beat, but now I can only imagine what else will come with my continued persistence.
You only live once
This past year has been defined by a phrase I believe is widely misinterpreted: YOLO. Sure, it applies to having a good time and embracing the “now,” but I like to think it’s also about doing things that make the “now” worthwhile. Because, all you juniors-turned-seniors, be warned: The last year of high school goes by faster than you can say “I’m-going-to-fail-AP-calc,” or my personal favorite, “I’m-applying-to-15-colleges-and-it’s-not-going-to-be-bad-at-all!”
I’m saying this because it’s almost impossible to believe that I’m writing my last article for The Beat. For two years, I have been part of an incredibly talented group of young writers, and it’s strange to think that, next fall, I will be heading off to Georgetown University (go Hoyas!), and I will no longer be rushing to Denny’s to attend our monthly breakfast meetings.
But, it seems like only weeks ago that I was dropping off my application at The Issaquah Press office. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision; it was, what some might say, YOLO-ing. So, to all readers, I urge you: take YOLO to heart. Do something that you’ve only thought about doing, just as I did with joining The Beat. You Only Live Once — make it meaningful.
And The Beat goes on…
It all started sophomore year, when I heard of a teen newspaper and decided I would give journalism a shot. Little did I know, The Beat would become more than just a project to me — it would become one of the highlights of my high school career.
I always had a passion for writing, but I began to love journalism, and seriously consider it as a career path. People always tell me that “journalism is a dying industry” — but that’s not entirely true.
It is evolving. Even in the three years I have been with The Beat, I have learned that information travels faster day by day, and journalism adapts accordingly. It both fascinates and puzzles me, but I am intrigued to the point where I want to be part of a new era of journalism.
Starting this fall, I will attend the University of Washington to study communications and Spanish. I have dreams, that don’t seem so wild anymore, of going to a Spanish-speaking country and writing. I will find the opportunity. The Beat gave me a challenge, and I need something to challenge me in my next chapter of life.
Olivia Spokoiny, co-editor, signing off on my last issue. The Beat will go on without me, but it will be dearly missed.
It was a unique experience
The Beat is one of those unique experiences that help teens become adults.
It was a door into being a part of the community in a big way — the newspaper — and doing some of the things that actual journalists bringing information to the public would do.
As the student who was in charge of the Liberty Teen Talk, this task encouraged me to approach classmates I didn’t otherwise talk to and actually get to ask them personal questions about their opinions about certain topics. It led me to understand the people around me to a new degree, people I sit under the same roof with every day yet know very little about.
A little thing like asking a fellow student his or her opinion or plans not only encouraged me to become more aware of my surroundings but by putting it in the paper for others to read it helped others to do the same.
What is important?
After one year of writing for The Beat, I have become a more concise and purposeful writer.
A year ago, I would have thought the best articles included “SAT vocabulary” and several paragraphs. But after I exasperated the editor by going 500 words over my limit, I realized my strategy was a little off, or maybe a lot.
I began writing articles I would want to read. Personally, I like to read terse articles that aim to convey one specific point. I began to write this way. My first feature article was a positive take on Issaquah’s Homecoming. After publication, teachers, the student body and even locals thanked me for my optimistic viewpoint.
The Beat has a powerful role in The Issaquah Press. Among often-disappointing current events that an older audience reads, The Beat can inform people of all ages about school life and provide insight into students’ minds — something everyone can find relatable.