The Trojan Messenger: Behind the Screens


Daniella Espinoza, Editor-in-Chief

From pitching ideas, to publishing articles there is a lot that happens behind the scenes of the Trojan Messenger. Every reporter has a different process when it comes to writing their articles, but this is a general overview of what the Trojan Messenger staff does to create an article. The staff consists of both Journalism I and Journalism II students. Students can take journalism for one semester or for all four years of their high school careers. 

Obviously, the staff has had to adapt our process and make it COVID-friendly. For example, most interviews are now conducted via Facetime or text message. Also, over half of our current staff is fully virtual, so we have to make sure that we attend all virtual meetings.

Pitch Meetings

Pitch meetings are essential when it comes to producing an article. Every Monday the staff attends a pitch meeting ran by the editor-in-chief. In this meeting, reporters pitch their best ideas for articles that week. Meetings are separated by category: news, sports, opinion, features, and arts and entertainment. 

Not only do staff reporters get article assignments from the meeting, but it helps the staff stay informed about things going on in school. We also discuss what’s going on in our community along with any categories that are missing articles. 

After the pitch meetings the paper’s adviser, Mrs. Nester, and the editor-in-chief meet to come up with the reporters’ assignments. The assignments are later shared in a google doc along with previous articles that are still in progress.

Planning & Writing 

After receiving an assignment, reporters are in charge of planning their articles, which varies depending on the type of piece. Features, news, and sports articles tend to need interviews done, so coming up with questions is a part of the planning process. If the article is opinion or arts and entertainment planning requires a brief overview or layout of what will be included. Headline ideas and photo ideas are included in the planning process. 

Humans of Tunstall are the only pieces that don’t follow that process. With Humans of Tunstall pieces, students have to find a person to feature and ask them a series of questions regarding their hobbies, talents, etc. Headlines are not required, but a great picture is essential. 

After planning is done, reporters begin writing their articles. 

Editing & Publishing

All articles are read by the reporter, adviser, editor-in-chief, copy editor, and section editors. A section editor is someone who is in charge of a certain category of the paper( i.e. features editor). The photography editor is also consulted for any needed photos and captions. 

Near the end of the week conferences are scheduled with the adviser, editor-in-chief, and reporter to go over the article and make edits. During the conferences, we discuss any necessary edits to the article, any additional paragraphs needed, and if the article will get published. 

Upon first glance, writing for the Trojan Messenger may appear to be easy, but there’s a lot that goes into every single article published. The paper’s goal is to give a voice to students who ordinarily wouldn’t be heard and to keep the Tunstall community informed.