Two days before we left for spring break I was having a conversation with my journalism students about the dangers of COVID-19. I know several of my journalists were not taking COVID-19 as seriously as they should. I don’t say this because they were forced to buy into the cause or the dangers, but because it was an evolving world-news story, and that is exactly what journalists live for.
When they left for spring break in March, they were preparing to go to print (publish the school newspaper) the week we came back. It’s unbelievable how quickly things changed. I haven’t seen them outside of Google Meet since March, and I am sad.
But now I have a different role as their journalism adviser. I have the opportunity to encourage them to become “remote journalists,” who dig, interview, and report, all from home.
They’ve had to turn their homes into newsrooms, and it cannot be easy.
While Alex attends to newborn puppies, listening to his siblings fight over the tv remote, he is also writing an article about what to do while stuck at home during the quarantine.
As Tiffany looks at Polaroids hanging in her room and tries not to miss life before quarantine too much, she cuddles up on her pillow-covered bed and writes.
Cassandra has the joy of working at a desk in her room with posters of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Wonder Woman hanging on her walls.
Priscilla sits on her porch with her cocker spaniel Lady as she writes her article about Bezos selling billions of dollars worth of stock, at just the right time.
Omar has a ten-year-old desk at home, but he’s in another state spending time with his ill mother, and he still manages to write.
Jackie sits in her room, stares at her gray walls, and thinks about all of the things going on in the world as she writes about makeshift hospitals being built in response to COVID-19.
Kina works in her messy bedroom with her door closed but can still hear Puppy Pals playing for her little brother in another room.
Lizbeth forgoes using her desk because she’d rather sit on her bed and type. Surrounded by light blue walls and curtains, she enjoys looking at her lava lamp as she works.
Raylene is blessed with a quiet household where she can work peacefully while listening to music.
Lina is sometimes distracted by her family but when she gets to work she sits at her desk in her room. On the corner of her desk is the enclosure of her reptile Tokio, an orange juvenile bearded dragon whom she plays and talks to when she's having a difficult time writing and just wants to get distracted for a bit.
While Dayana’s older sister is blasting Bad Bunny and her little sister is yelling over an L she took on Fortnite, Dayana struggles to accept all that COVID-19 took from her, but she comes up with her next idea for an article, or rather, it’s a letter she addresses to COVID-19.
Melanie tries to disregard the noise from her siblings bickering in another room and works in her freshly painted bedroom.
Arcie sits in a small, cluttered area of her kitchen table and could be easily distracted by her brother’s loud movie watching antics in the other room, her mother’s Spanish lectures, or even the bells on her cats’ collars.
Britney works in her mess of a room, with her poster-covered walls and blaring music, but still manages to get her work done (sometimes).
Alyssa attempts to drown out the noise of crying babies and works in her bedroom or the living room where she can look out a window and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Alice relaxes in her tiny bedroom, surrounded by fairy lights, and concentrates on the work at hand.
Reyna does not have a designated work area in her home, a home in constant chaos from siblings bickering or a baby crying. Although her newsroom is hectic, she appreciates the happy memories associated with her chaotic workspace.
Cynthia lays on her bed, surrounded by soft pink walls, and tries to put into words how the story of Gabriel Fernandez impacted her so deeply.
As Claire writes her reflection of four years of high school, she chooses to work at the family dining room table because just the right amount of sunshine pours through the windows.
Reina decides where her newsroom will be, depending on the time of day. If the sun is just rising or just setting, she works in the living room where the temperature is the best.
Alexa works in a bustling area next to the kitchen where she is constantly distracted by the other members of her family or the tv, and not getting sidetracked is a daily struggle.
Finally, after a long day of work, Andres waits for his family to go to sleep so he can listen to music and work with a cool breeze coming in from a nearby window.
These are my journalists. As you read anything they write, just know that they did not HAVE to continue writing. Most of them had a good grade coming into the fourth quarter. They remained committed to their writing because that’s what journalists do. To say that I am proud of them is an understatement. But, because of them, I want you all to know that journalism matters.