New Journalism teacher at DB

Erin Barnes, Staff Writer

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Dobyns Bennett High School recently introduced a new Journalism teacher, Elaine Riner. Riner studied English at Liberty University and now teaches two English classes and one yearbook and newspaper class.

Riner has had experience with journalism, as she worked with the Kingsport Times-News for over 5 years.

“Since I have experience with journalism, I was asked to sponsor this class, as the teacher who’d been involved was getting ready to take another position in the district,” Riner said. “I happily accepted.”

Riner was homeschooled during high school, so she never had the opportunity to be involved in a high school newspaper.

“I wish there had been, though, because I know I would have been interested,” she said.

Molly Turner, a former editor in chief for the “Sequoyah Scribe”, and a current co-editor for the “Arrowhead” student newspaper at DB, has a passion for journalism. Turner joined the “Arrowhead” her freshman year.

“I decided to sign up for the DB newspaper because I was on the newspaper when I was at Sevier, and I loved it,” Turner said. “I also have a passion for writing stories and being able to share them with others.”

Keely Heck, like Turner, joined the “Arrowhead” staff, but for a different reason.

“I signed up because I have friends that recently took this class, who told me that being on the newspaper would look good on a college application,” she said.

Riner’s goal for her first year working with the “Arrowhead” is to encourage other students to join the class.

“With it being so new to me, and with it happening in conjunction with the yearbook, my hope was to help students work to keep the ‘Arrowhead’ current with stories and items,” she said. “Now, we’re not seeing students as interested in newspaper at the high school level. My hope would be to encourage students to join and to muster up interest for the future classes.”

Turner’s goal for her first year with the arrowhead is to grow as a writer and for the “Arrowhead” to grow.

“I hope to get more people clicking on our website, and reading our stories,” she said.

Heck agrees.

“I hope to become a more superior writer,” she said.
Turner‘s favorite part of the DB newspaper is the freedom.

“My favorite part of working on the newspaper is the flexibility of the class,” she said. “I can write about what I want to and can do it whenever I want.”

Riner loves seeing a student have a successful piece.

“When they can take an idea and create a piece that holds journalistic integrity and their own passion, that is the best thing,” she said.

Because the students can write what they want, it can become difficult to think of ideas for articles. For Heck, that is the most challenging part.

“I don’t know why, but I never hear anything big that’s writing-worthy about DB,” she said. “It’s also very frustrating when you email a teacher questions about an interview that they want to do, and them not emailing you back.”

Turner believes the challenge is in how different the DB paper is from her previous experience.

“The most challenging part of working on the DB newspaper is that it is different than the JSMS newspaper,” she said. “The DB newspaper is only online, which is an adjustment from how the JSMS newspaper worked. The process of writing stories is also fairly different for the DB newspaper.”

The “Arrowhead” has a very small staff, which is difficult.

“More minds mean stronger brainstorming, so that is a challenge right now,” Riner said.

The small staff has a strict schedule.

“The first day of the week after the deadline, we would meet and come up with stories, about 5 articles per person every 2 weeks,” Heck said. “We’d write the stories and we would meet the Tuesday before the deadline and talk about the work, then publish the articles on that Friday.”

Riner believes that meetings for the “Arrowhead” are much different from classes.

”Class is sometimes held more like a business meeting where we can ‘round table’ and talk about what we think about stories and ideas,” she said. “That is different from my other classes, in that while there are a lot of great discussions, newspaper allows there to be a more business-type atmosphere.”

Riner looks for students that have good writing skills for the “Arrowhead”.

“I look for students with good writing skills, students who can express themselves in a concise manner.,” she said. “I also look or students who pledge integrity and who shun plagiarism.”

Heck has some advice for future student journalists.

“Write about something you enjoy instead of writing boring, literally no one is interested in pieces,” she said.

While Riner believes people should join the DB newspaper is because you can grow your writing skills.

“Students should sign up for Newspaper because it is a great way to grow in writing and learning how to tell a truthful story,” she said. “Students will get guidance on how to write headlines, how to create interest in their writing and practice by writing about what they want. They will also understand where the line is with writing an honest piece vs. copying other work, which is a very important skill to have.”

Heck agrees.

“This class is the probably the best place to work on your writing skills,” she said.

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