Behind the Troy InVoice staff

The end of summer and the beginning of school swept our newspaper staff like a bag of very heavy rocks. One minute we were sitting by the pool reading AP journalism formatting style books and scrolling twitter for updates on Taylor Swift’s new album. The next minute we are staring at each other’s faces in the journalism room wondering what happened to our beloved summer days. Meaning the struggle to keep our minds on track to the goal of journalistic excellence is very real.

We officially have eight gorgeous and talented staff members. In case you are unaware of these lovely individuals, I feel it is necessary to make introductions.

Justina Brown, our sensational editor in chief. Justina is expert on everything related to journalism, communication, donuts, and making the staff feel like we are the coolest people in the universe. You know she puts one hundred and twelve percent of her soul into this paper because her car is always parked in the space closest to the school, a position only obtained by someone who arrives long before any other student.

Yulenni Vennegas, one of our rookie reporters. Yulenni is the resident theater star and speaks fluent sarcasm. Her level of oratory eloquence makes us all look like primitive apes but she is far too modest to ever affirm such an idea.

Cameron Tsosie, one of our beloved return reporters. Cameron is the sunshine of our staff. He radiates optimism and curiosity, ready to accomplish any task without a single complaint. He is not capable of abrasive words or judgement, and a critical addition to our staff.

Andrew Hernandez, the yearbook editor in chief. Andrew’s delightful sense of humor keeps every class day full of vivacity and excitement. Do not trust him with government secrets, heavy machinery or your MySpace passwords. DO trust him with hugs and photography skills.

Adam Sanders, future marine and a professional at spinny chair bumper cars. He’s one of our returning staff members and keeps a certain degree of cool to our nerdy journalism style.

Alex Vasquez is our newest staff member, she came all the way from Riverside to dispense her skills on the Troy InVoice. Her renowned article on school confession twitter accounts has us very excited for what she will do for our newspaper.

And last but not least, our darling Jorge Hoolahan. Not only does he have the best hair of anyone on the staff, but Jorge is absurdly intelligent. His refusal to use spell check or capitalize his name are just a covering for his genius mind, we promise.

We will be slaving over our keyboards and college ruled notebook paper all year (aside from the occasional cookie break) to make the Troy InVoice something that will open your brain windows when you read it. We will do all the writing, picture taking, and designing, all you have to do is read.

Behind the yearbook pages

If you’re reading this that means you’ve survived the first week back to school, congrats! It hasn’t been a normal or easy first week of school, our Trojan Journalism staffers understand the difficulties everyone has faced. We’re in a new school; no one quite knows how to get between the new building and north campus without being tardy; no matter how tech savvy your teacher is, they still can’t figure out how to work the new projectors; the stairs are beyond crowded and we aren’t quite up to the cardio that is three flights of stairs every hour. But, we’ve made it.

For our Trojan Journalism students, it’s been a week of exciting changes and new experiences. A new room, new technology, new designs, and new staffers. As EIC of the newspaper and a staff member of the yearbook, it’s been exciting for me to watch. Even in our short three days, we’re already becoming a family, picking up where we left off last year and welcoming in everyone new.

All that being said, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Even now our Invader staff is hard at work on the yearbook you’ll be reading nine months from now. The greatest part? They need your help! Yes you! We want all your memories from Auburn High as the year goes on. We want to know what’s frustrating you during the first few days of school. We want to know your favorite part of being back in the classroom with your friends. We want to know what YOU want to see in the yearbook come next June. So help us as we bring you the 103 Invader yearbook, the book you have a voice in. But here’s the catch, you only have 140 characters on Twitter to let us know. Go open up your Twitter app, find us and make sure you hit follow, then use #MyAuburnExperience to share with us! We’ll read and retweet you and then ensure that your voice is heard as the yearbook comes together. No promises that everyone’s fabulous idea is going to make it into the final 280 pages, but why not try?

I look forward to seeing everyone’s wacky and crazy experiences as the year progresses. Until then, I hope all your experiences during the 2014-2015 school year are memorable!


High school has often been described as a form of the Animal Kingdom, where students are divided into groups and categories depending on their interests and popularity (let us not forget the memorable scene in the movie “Mean Girls,” where new-girl Cady Heron is introduced to the different “cliques” at the lunch table). Therefore, it seems fitting to compare the student body (in a very simplistic sense) to a group of predators.

This comparison seems particularly fitting during the scheduling period. Many factors are included in determining the value of one course over another: the teacher, the ratio of friends, strangers expected to back you up in case you missed an assignment, and former students’ assessment of the class, are all subconsciously swirling in the minds of students as they choose the courses that would lead them to graduation (or, to continue with the jungle analogy, figuring out the best course of action to survive and leave the wild savannah and to never return).

Due to much (and persistent) persuasion from newspaper Editor-in-Chief Justina Brown, I have been convinced to take journalistic writing as a class for my senior year. Having heard much of the class from said EIC, there are a number of things that I expect, namely: A lot of time on the computer (which quite honestly is never a bad thing); inside jokes; interesting, if at times possibly random conversation on anything and everything; and doughnuts (Justina was quite animated about this last expectation).

The improvement of a skill is somehow overlooked in any course. This is expected, since the main goal of the average high school student is usually just passing the class (or just having fun, depending on the student). But whether it’s in the ability to solve a new, seemingly irrelevant mathematical formula, the ability to finally serve a volleyball correctly, or the great importance of identifying the difference between a verb and an adverb in a sentence – in any course, some skill is improved at least a little bit.

In this course, I plan to improve my journalistic writing skills, after having left them to rust for four years since my last journalism class in middle school (though nobody should remember middle school, it having been universally accepted as an awkward phase that should never be mentioned ever).

However, this is not to say that I will not be surprised in regards to the course. On the contrary, I hope to be pleasantly surprised. But for now, I wait.

A Year of Change

Justina wrote about journalism summer camp already, didn’t she?  It was one of those experiences that I will always remember.  I learned a lot. But something that stuck out was change, It seemed to be a theme at the summer camp, a lot of print publications were contemplating the change from print publishing to online publishing.

I really like this feature so I decided to put random text in the middle of my post

Though, for yearbook moving online really isn’t a problem but, changing the structure of the book and rearranging staff positions to create a “real life” newsroom is a struggle.  Changing tradition is something that can be hated. Tradition is important to Trojan Journalism, but in order for us to create the “best” yearbook traditions have to be broken and recreated.

Mr. Kaup and I have had many discussions since the 2013-2014 winter break about how we could make the 2014-2015 yearbook something different. The first idea we had was to modernize the yearbook’s design.  We are restructuring our staff to allow students more freedom to specialize in certain tasks rather forcing everyone to dabble in every area of journalism.

Another change we had was this year’s theme. Rahma and I have already decided the annuals yearbooks theme, which will allow us to explore new avenues of creativity (Like writing, photography and design.)

But probably the biggest change that most of you will notice is that the Invader yearbook staff is moving away from the traditional cookie cutter book and we are moving to a chronological book that will record daily school events. This is probably the scariest and most ambitious change we will encounter this year. If it works, this will explore more than just the clubs and teams at Auburn. It will allow us the flexibility to go one on one with students involved with sports, clubs, and other activities.  Our vision is to create a more inclusive yearbook.

This is a year of change and in order for things to improve we need to explore new ideas so that we can evolve to become something better. So hopefully we can build off what we have learned from the past and create something that records memories and experiences in a whole new way.

Your pal,


WJEA journalism camp recap

Last week at this time I was surrounded by dozens upon dozens of high school journalists who share my passion. With our fearless adviser, Mr. Kaup, and fellow EIC, Andrew, I knew great things were sure to ensue. Being immersed in journalism for four days may not be everyone’s idea of a good time but I can’t imagine not having gone.

Student journalists, advisers, and Washington Journalism Education Association board members all gathered at Western Washington University for a weekend of intense learning and loads of fun!

I learned more than I ever imagine, and as cliche as that sounds, it’s absolutely true. At every meal we would talk about journalism and plans for the coming year. Every chance we had in between classes, we’d talk about what we learned and how we can teach our staffs when we get back in the newsroom. In every session I attended, the instructor gave us their email before they even began teaching, they wanted to make sure all questions could be answered if they didn’t cover something we were unsure of. Students everywhere were exchanging emails and phone numbers declaring they would call if they needed help in InDesign or Photoshop. It was so amazing to see the community we had even though many of us had never met before.

We were all nerds, I’m not denying that even for a minute, but it was glorious! My favorite part was visiting the Western Front’s office, the student run newspaper of WWU. We also stopped in Klipson’s office, one of the student run magazines at WWU. Being able to talk with collegiate journalists about their passion was inspiring! We shared ideas and received really wonderful feadback on enhancing our publications back home.

I miss the fabulous times already! I still wait every night for my phone to light up with messages from friends trying to coordinate our breakfast routine, but the notification hasn’t come yet, and I know it won’t. So I eagerly await September 18th, the day we all join together again for Journalism Day at the University of Washington. Until then, I have plenty to do in the world of Trojan Journalism!

Our secret is out, we are blogging!

It looks like you found us, we’re sitting here working even through the summer months, after all, journalism rests for no one! Come September our Trojan Journalism staffs will be back at work in the newsroom, editing yearbook pages and writing newspaper stories. Until then, we want to make sure you’re ready for an exciting year at Auburn High! As part of Trojan Journalism and the launch of our interactive website in June, our editorial staff got together and decided we couldn’t stop there. Thus, our blog was born.

Behind the Spread is designed to give our readers an inside look into what journalism is all about at AHS. We’re going to have our staff blogging every Friday on a new topic. This will be the place to come in August after our editors go to journalism summer camp. This will be the website to check in the spring when our staffs are up to their eyes in write-off competitions at state and national conventions. This is where you want to check to find out our fun tips, tricks, and secrets for life! That isn’t to stay that our website won’t be updated or the newspaper is ceasing to exist, far from it. In fact, there’s likely to be overlap between this site and our news site. The difference is that this blog is going to show you what you won’t see in the newspaper or yearbook!

You can expect to see photos from the newsroom when we’re being a little crazy. You can expect to see behind the scenes interviews when we can’t keep everything in an article. You can expect to read about exciting events our journalists were able to participate in. You can basically expect anything!

Plan to check back here every Friday, we’ll be updating it sometime during the day. Plus, especially when we’re at conventions, we may be posting a little more often to keep you in the know. We want to take you, our readers, into the newsroom to show you how things look before spreads are sent to the printers and photos are glossy. We want to show you the rough edges, and the thrilling moments in between, in the hopes that you may find yourself blogging for us before you walk to get your diploma.

We hope you’re as excited to see what we’re doing in Trojan Journalism as we are to share it with you!


-Andrew, Justina and Rahma

Trojan Journalism’s 2014-2015 EIC’s