WESTFIELD, NJ — Despite their school’s move to distance learning last week, the young journalists behind Westfield High School’s newspaper, “Hi’s Eye,” still managed to publish, putting out a multitude of stories on their website.

The weekly paper has suspended printed newspapers for the time being, as the students are unable to gather together to prepare the newspapers for mailing or hand them out to subscribers. Instead, “Hi’s Eye” is publishing a newspaper’s worth of stories on their website every Friday.

“‘Hi’s Eye’ has been going on since 1935. It went through World War II and the Vietnam War,” said “Hi’s Eye” adviser Shawn McDonald. “It’s gone through a lot of things and never stopped publishing, so I don’t want this to be the first time it comes to a halt.”

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Practicing social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, the staff behind the student-run newspaper communicated through online platforms, including GroupMe, to brainstorm ideas and collaborate. Moving forward, they plan to use the video conferencing app Zoom to brainstorm article ideas at the beginning of each week.

“The process has definitely become more difficult, as writers are typically able to meet face-to-face with their page editor and EIC [editor in chief] to discuss changes,” said Jessi Schlewitt, a Westfield High School senior and a co-editor in chief of “Hi’s Eye.” “But because we are not in school, this process has to be done entirely online.”

The team behind “Hi’s Eye” had already used online tools, such as Google Drive and GroupMe, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, which made the switch to online communication easier.

The major changes for the staff have to do with deadline shifts and a change in article topics to fit with what's happening now as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. A main article in Friday’s edition was a timeline of Westfield’s response to the pandemic.

To read that story and others in “Hi’s Eye,” visit www.hiseye.org.

Shreya Jyotishi is a sophomore at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.

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