SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- With a combination of a very talented and hard-working staff, exceptional content, and a cutting-edge new look, The Prophet has opened lots of eyes at Union Catholic this school year.
Marla James, the advisor for The Prophet, UC’s student run on-line news outlet, switched to a magazine format this year by using a new digital publishing platform (Joomag), and the completely new staff of students have blended their skills to deliver a sensational product.
The staff of senior Tommy Armstrong, the Assistant Editor, senior reporter Yilin Chai, senior reporter Antonio Reyes, junior reporter Kaila Barnes, and freshman Journalism Club reporter Alexis Reyes have shown that they have their finger on the pulse of UC by brilliantly capturing the news and events of the school through a wide range of fresh stories, photos, and videos.
The Prophet rolls out a new issue every two months, and in its most recent issue (Nov./Dec), the staff of just five students produced a stunning 22 pages of content.
“They have exceeded my expectations,’’ said James, the advisor for The Prophet since 2005. “Especially in terms of the volume as each student is producing 3-4 stories each for each issue, which is certainly commendable.’’
Armstrong said he’s proud of the work he and the staff have done.
“I'm incredibly proud to be part of the staff of The Prophet, and think everyone helping out is doing an outstanding job,’’ said Armstrong. “It feels so accomplishing to work for something meant for our school audience. It is also fulfilling to have a small group of kids all working from start to finish by brainstorming ideas, creating the layout to writing the articles, and completing the entire product with the group we have.’’
James said that updating The Prophet’s design by using Joomag has certainly enhanced its look, and given students more opportunities to display their talents.
“I wanted to do something different for the kids this year,’’ said James. "I wanted to make it more exciting for them, and enable them to have more creativity, and I think now it’s a better overall product.’’
James also said that Joomag enables the students to embed videos and slideshows.
“I give the students a lot of credit,’’ said James. “There are tutorials and videos that I enrolled them in and set them loose. They learned how to navigate and edit, and add things to their pages.’’
Armstrong said the change to the magazine format has been a great addition.
“I am thankful and super impressed that Mrs. James added the new magazine this year, as it enhances the quality and look of the magazine as a whole, and allows us to be creative with the layout of the magazine,’’ said Armstrong.
James said the article selections, story assignments, and the layout and design comes from the students.
“I’m extremely impressed with the job they are doing,’’ said James. “They have worked together well and have really been great to work with.’’
The staff is already working diligently on its next issue.
“We spent Monday creating an assignment board, and for our next issue (Jan./Feb.) each student has four stories,’’ said James. “Now the challenge is what says January and February at Union Catholic, and what story should go on the front cover, and what should we tease on the cover. Those are some of the things we are working on now.’’