New Journalism Program In FHS

New Journalism Program In FHS

Julio Rodriguez Carballo, Staff Writer

As the Foothill Forum stories keep getting published and written, has anyone come to wonder how did this all come to the point it is now and how might it look in the future?  Well, let’s answer this question with the Foothill Forum teacher himself, Daniel Keck, to find out all about it. 

Now that we have this question in mind, what exactly is the foothill forum in the eyes of Keck? Is it just a class or something more meaningful and important? 

“The Foothill forum is the school newspaper, which I believe is an important aspect of a good high school,” Keck said. “We had a newspaper in my high school. I think journalism is important. It’s a career path for a lot of students. And it’s also just a good skill to have. It’s all about letting students tell stories about what is important to them in the community. It’s a way to keep people informed and engaged In the topics and events that are going on that affect them in Foothill.” 

So, the Foothill Forum is an important part of our school according to Keck, but why is it important? What makes journalism a good skill to have both career wise and school wise?

“Broadly, I think journalism is important, because it’s the safeguard against misinformation, and against propaganda, and against rhetoric, and, you know, people trying to coerce you into believing this or that. It’s a check on authority,” Keck said. “Now on a more local scale. It’s important because there are things that need to be covered, that aren’t being covered by say, the Sacramento Bee. So what is going on here on Foothill farms, or in the north Highlands area, specific to this high school community, I want it to be a focus on that, and raising awareness of things that are going on, and also the people in the voices that are in the community. So on a local level, it’s important just to get people feeling like they’re involved.”

Since we know the basic idea of the Foothill Forum, how did it come to start? Did Keck come up with the idea? Was it the school? Let’s find out. 

“Well, before I took over, it was Mr. Dommer’s class,” Keck said. “He currently runs digital media and yearbook and a couple other courses. I implored him to maybe let me take over that job because I was very interested in doing it and he was very kind and obliging, and so now I’ve been running the Foothill forum.” 

Keck started the journalism class during our online learning times, it should be easy to assume that his expectations starting off were pretty low, but how have they changed? And will they continue to change? 

“For a new journalists program during the COVID year that we had, my expectations were fairly low,” Keck said. “Reasonably so, I think, because I was new to teaching journalism. And the whole world was new to the COVID protocols. And so, while I am very proud of what the team did last year, it’s a whole different can of worms this year being on campus five days a week, being able to interview in person. Next year will be different too, because I’m always trying to find ways to make the class more engaging. Easier, frankly, I don’t want this to be a hard class. I want it to be a fun class and an easy class, even though there are writing assignments, technically. So there’s always little things that you can tweak about a program. Making it more professional, making the quality of the website more professional, continually updating it more. So. Just just little things like that.”

Finally, what should people interested in journalism know about the class, and what should people who don’t know about journalism know in case they want to be in the class?

“So what I would want future journalism students to know are, well, people who are interested in journalism,” Keck said, “I would want them to know that this is an elective that requires a little bit of effort and work. With deadlines, and assignments, now, you get to write about pretty much whatever you want. For students who don’t know about journalism at all, I would say, well, are you interested in writing or telling stories? Do you want to have a fun period where you basically get to be in control of what you do every day? teaches a lot of life skills like organization planning, and how to stay on top of your life without the teacher or anybody harping on you so much, developing those independent skills that will help you later on.”