Celebrating high school journalism at Hillside

After the mentoring session, Hornets, Eagles and Tar Heels pose for a group portrait, as playful HHS journalism teacher Jackie Novotny hits the floor. (Staff photo by Jock Lauterer

As the Durham VOICE enters its ninth year, when I look back in mind’s eye rear-view-mirror, the thing I see is not the 42 print editions or the hundreds of online versions of our paper.

Each one reach one: UNC journalism student Vanessa Luo gives writing advice to Hillside High School journalism student Brenda Andrade. (Staff photo by Jock Lauterer)

I see faces.

For if there’s anything we’ve learned over the years, it’s that community journalism – that all-in, relentlessly local form of journalism — is all about people.

And when we count up our accomplishments, it turns out that the physical newspaper is only the driver, the engine for forming and nurturing relationships, for lifting up urban teens, giving them a break and the kind of opportunities folks raised like me take for granted.

All this came to mind yesterday when, for the second time this month, the VOICE reporters from UNC-CH and NCCU mentored, shared and bonded with teacher Jackie Novotny’s journalism class at Hillside High School, as they worked on this fall’s first edition of their school paper, the Hillside Chronicle.

As the founding publisher of the Durham VOICE, I watched with a deep sense of satisfaction the interaction between Tar Heels, Eagles and Hornets in Ms. Nototny’s lively journalism classroom.

I think the photographs speak for themselves. Onward and upward.

During the mentoring session Friday, Sept. 23, at Hillside High School’s journalism class, UNC student reporter Alex Zietlow, center, listens intently as Hillside Chronicle reporter Trey Goodwin talks about his story, while Chronicle reporter Alex Gonzalez-Vazquez looks on. (Staff photo by Jock Lauterer)