PATERSON, NJ- Furthering their mission to engage the community in its delivery of hyperlocal news, TAPinto Paterson has announced the launch of an internship designed to give local high school students an opportunity to gain real world journalism experience.

Through the TAPinto RPHS program, four students enrolled in the Communications Arts Major at Rosa Parks High School for Fine and Performing Arts (RPHS) will work directly with TAPinto Paterson’s Editor, Steve Lenox, to write and publish stories that meet the online newspaper’s editorial guidelines.

“The mission of TAPinto Paterson is to tell stories that will hopefully have a positive impact on the betterment of the community,” Lenox said. “How better to do that than through the eyes, and words, of dynamic young people that show such pride for the place they call home?”

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The students selected for the program, Natacha Bunay, Vanessa Huaita, Milagros Martinez, and JaLeel M. Porcha, are all experienced writers, have had their work featured previously in the school’s award winning newspaper “Spotlight”, and have expressed their interest in getting their work out to an audience outside of their school. The newly formed partnership will also see TAPinto Paterson sharing content, such as this recent story of an RPHS field trip to Broadway to see Hamilton, from “Spotlight” with its readers. 

Saying that she looked forward to doing a good job and contributing, Huaita expressed her enthusiasm about her selection and “being given a chance to write articles for a newspaper about the city (she) grew up in.” Believing it is going to be a “wonderful experience,” Porcha sounded a similar tone saying he was happy to participate in the “terrific opportunity.” Bunay additionally said that for her the experience will “expand her knowledge,” in a field she, like her classmates, hopes to pursue a career in.

Calling the students “proven writers,” Communications Arts teacher Carl Lauricella said that he is “happy for the opportunity for (his) students” and knows they will “do a fantastic job covering meaningful stories.”

The partnership between TAPinto Paterson and Rosa Parks High School was established at the behest of Paterson Board of Education Commissioner Emanuel Capers. The idea won immediate support from Superintendent Eileen Shafer, as well as Assistant Superintendent David Cozart and Jaylin Lyde, the school’s principal. 

“This opportunity is designed to encourage students to explore journalism as a career,” Capers said while expressing hope that it would also help them “feel inspired to write about what is going on in their community, and their school.”He went on to acknowledge TAPinto Paterson for “reaching into our schools and giving students experience and insight that will benefit them as they progress through their schooling and into careers.”

Recognizing its unique style of storytelling and news reporting that sets TAPinto Paterson apart from other media outlets, Martinez said that she “love(s) that we are finally showing the positivity of Paterson,” and that by providing a counterpoint to the often negative reputation of the city she hopes “to enlighten others about how great Paterson really is.”

“In the months since relaunching TAPinto Paterson I have had my belief that there is a lot more good in Paterson than what is being told proven true time and time again,” stated Lenox. “These students back that up. While I hope to be able to impart some wisdom, I believe that it will in fact be me that learns from them.”


Natacha Bunay, Vanessa Huaita, Milagros Martinez, and JaLeel M. Porcha all contributed to this story.