El Estoque is more than a student-run news publication — it is a family. As cliche as it may sound, El Estoque has become my home for the past three years. I can always count on A111 to bring me back to my element and allow me to just enjoy the moment — even on the days I struggle to keep my eyes open after pulling an all-nighter, or the days I feel dejected after doing poorly on a test. Walking into A111 is like entering a completely different world, a world full of journalists who are just as passionate about storytelling as I am.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF EL ESTOQUE
As the Editor-in-chief of El Estoque, I have many responsibilities including but not limited to the following:
Leader of both Journalism and Multimedia Design classes and of the editorial board
Set the tone for the rest of the staff; serve the needs of El Estoque staff and attempt to keep up morale levels and maintain a positive attitude at all times
Responsible for attending meetings every Tuesday during lunch to plan the week
Present various new storytelling tools and plan lessons for the staff
Read stories coming in from all writers on staff, correct errors and provide feedback about structure and organization
Act as a liaison between the staff and the adviser and will also represent the paper to the administration, community and students
Lead by example — not only in meeting quota, but also in following the deadline schedule
Write a letter to the readers from the editors
Mondays are always hard, not just for staff writers for El Estoque, but also for many other high school students. We begin every week with a Motivational Monday. I personally love to share some of my favorite Youtube videos with the class. Motivational Monday is a simple, yet fun way to motivate the staff members in an engaging way.
It is a tradition at El Estoque to have a Family Friday every week. Every Friday, a member from the heads team prepares a game or a team-bonding activity for the entire class to participate in. Some of our favorites include charades, the human knot and Scattegories. This year, we also introduced an activity in which each staff member wrote a compliment to every El Estoque staff member, which was a great way to promote bonding. Family Friday is easily one of the most unique aspects to El Estoque, and is something that every staff member looks forward to.
Every cycle we have two late nights, one on Tuesday and one on Friday. For roughly five hours, staff writers in the Journalism class, which produces the print magazine, work on completing their page designs. While late night is a time for all members to work intensively on their individual pages, it is also a time for members to bond together. Late night is an incredibly fun aspect of El Estoque — there is never a dull moment at our late nights. To conclude our late nights, we always take a group photo and ask the staff to share something crazy they overheard at late night.
In order to motivate writers to push themselves to their full potential, we implement friendly competition through an El Estoquito award that is given to one writer from each section every cycle. The heads team, or managing editors and editors-in-chief, collectively decides which members are deserving of special recognition. The award serves as a way to not only encourage staff writers to put forth their best foot, but also to recognize the exceptional effort, dedication and work of the staff.
Twice a year, we collect feedback from staff writers on the performance of all editors. Every member on staff, including myself and the other editors, fills out a Google form evaluating editors and providing constructive feedback. We use this open communication to allow for transparency and to identify areas of improvement.
Every two to three cycles, all staff writers, with the exception of the heads team and the section editors, have an opportunity to switch their section. By allowing staff members to experience being a part of these different sections, we hope to encourage not only the diversification of writing techniques, but also the development of relationships with all members of El Estoque.
El Estoque attends a national journalism convention every year. During my time on staff, I have had the privilege of attending the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Spring Convention and the Journalism Education Association (JEA) and National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Fall Convention. These conventions are an opportunity to develop new skills, network with other journalists and most importantly, establish even tighter bonds with the El Estoque family.
Communication is a key aspect to our publication. Our primary methods of communication are Facebook and Facebook Messenger. Facebook is primarily used to post important announcements and share links to excellent articles. Facebook Messenger, on the other hand, is the main method of communication between section editors and staff writers. All stories are sent to editors through Messenger.
PROFESSIONAL AND SCHOLASTIC SHOWCASE
Every Tuesday, a member of the heads team shares a notable article with the class from both a professional and scholastic publication. By showcasing these exemplary examples, we hope to encourage staff writers to push themselves to produce their best work. Because professional work often includes elements that are difficult for us to implement with our limited staff and limited resources, we also share good examples from other high school publications.