The Quill is Back!
In an era of constant turmoil in the political sphere, from the impeachment of a president to foreign interference in our elections, the work of journalists is as crucial as it has ever been. “Journalists write the first draft of history,” stated Jessica McCallum, AHS journalism teacher, and advisor of the Animas Quill. “There’s never been a more important time to be studying journalism in a democratic society. It prepares young people to critically read their world and express the issues important to them. As we all watch the media landscape transform, focusing on the pursuit of truth and clear communication is of paramount importance.”
The Quill originally started in the Spring of 2011 and was published monthly for five years until the Spring of 2016. That next school year, Jessica turned her attention from teaching journalism to Spanish part-time, at which time the Quill went on hiatus. When asked what inspired her to revive the Quill, she said, “Quite simply, I wanted to bring it back because it was missing. At a project-based high school rooted in adult world connections and engaged learning, the lack of a student media organization left a hole in our programming.”
Thanks to the benevolent collaboration of Missy Votel and the Durango Telegraph, the Quill will be featured as a periodic insert in everyone’s favorite local indie paper. When we asked Votel why she agreed to collaborate with the Quill, she said “I think it’s important to give budding young writers a taste of the exciting world of journalism! Even though the means of delivering news is changing, newsgathering, uncovering the truth and telling the oft-neglected side of the story are more important now than ever. And who better to give a voice to than teens, who will (hopefully) grow up to be the vanguards of the so-called Fifth Estate.”
The student news organization has rebranded itself Quill Media in an effort to branch out to various platforms. The reboot of the Quill will not be simply focused on print journalism because as Jessica explained, “the media landscape in the world has changed, and so must we.” In addition to the insert in the Telegraph, Quill Media will deliver multimedia content via social media platforms and its website: animasquill.org.
By Annabelle Mick
Additionally, Quill Media has absorbed the broadcast news program formerly known as the Friday Show. Senior Robbie Patla is leading the effort to integrate more video journalism into the fold. Patla, who is also an intern at Durango TV, said, “It’s very important to convey information through visual storytelling, and in this day in age video journalism has the power to inspire others and create change.”
Despite the diversification of media, print journalism will still be a focus of Quill Media. Beyond the newspaper, the Quill’s editors are looking at more creative ways to get student voice out to the general public through small paper magazine features called “zines.”
Just as national journalists are taking advantage of writing an important part of our country’s history, so will the “Quillspreys,” as Jessica affectionately calls them, a play on the AHS mascot, the osprey. “The Quillspreys are contributing to the documentation of our school’s history and evolution: this is the real work of journalism,” Jessica reflected.
Keep an eye out in the Durango Telegraph and check animasquill.org regularly for new stories about our school, our community, our nation, and our world. You can also follow Quill Media on Twitter (@animasquill), Instagram (@animasquillmedia), and Snapchat (animas_quill).