New Outlet to Have Voices Heard

Abington High’s Journalism Class Provides Publication Opportunities


Linda Daye

Ms. Patricia Pflaumer stands in front of posters about Journalistic ethics and standards that her students in Journalism/Media class made. About 20 students are enrolled in the 2019-2020 elective at Abington High.

This 2019-2020 school year, students attending Abington High School have an opportunity to take a more diverse range of elective classes 

One class is First Aid/CPR/AED, taught by Ms. Casey. This class allows students to become certified in those areas by the end of the semester. 

A second course is Sports and Entertainment Marketing, taught by Ms. Howell. In this course, students are able to learn key concepts about basic marketing functions while also being able to relate it to sports and entertainment. 

It is imperative that people–not just students–understand the First Amendment and that a free press is necessary for democracy

— Ms. Pflaumer

Another option is Journalism and Digital Media elective, taught by the Green Wave Gazette (GWG) advisor Ms. Pflaumer. Young journalists in this class, ranging from grade 9-12, are provided with opportunities to learn about journalism and digital production in order to publish their work.  

In the Journalism class, students are offered hands-on training for two hours each school semester, lending a helping hand to Mr. Justin Shannahan, the Director of the ACAM studio. Skills learned in the studio can be commentating on home games, producing a broadcast, or filming an event.  

Each student in the journalism class is also required to contribute three works each semester for publication. This can mean to publish in the Green Wave Gazette or in another reputable publication such as the Education Channel on Abington’s CAM station. 

This is Ms. Pflaumer’s first year teaching this class. She said, I met with Mr. Shannahan over the summer to learn a little bit about the ACAM Studio, and at the end of last year I asked Mr. Shannon questions about the Digital Production portion of the class. Both provided me with a framework for what I wanted to do.”  Most parts of the curriculum, though, Ms. Pflaumer already had experience with.  

“The Digital Media part is like any other technology I have had to learn in my career here. I feel like technology is always changing and every year I must learn something new if I want to remain an effective teacher.”  

Many students in the class are skilled with technology already, Ms. Pflaumer said. “I feel like I have a ‘go to’ team in some students, like those who are members of the Weekly Wave, Film Club, or students who had Internships with ACAM.”  

So far, things seem to be going well with the class. Ms. Pflaumer said, “Kids seem curious and like they are getting something from it.” As of early October 8, several students in the class have been published in The Green Wave Gazette or on Abington Cable. That makes Ms. Pflaumer very happy because it is important to her that students’ voices are heard.   

In addition to work in the ACAM studio and publishing, the course allows students to analyze the role of journalists, the First Amendment, bias in the media and fake news.

Regarding a recent lesson, junior Kayla Larkin-Goldman said it was important because “in order to know even how to spot fake news you have to know the basis of what journalism is about.” Sean Moran, who is also in the class, said, “it teaches you about fake news and how not to fall for it.”

Ms. Pflaumer said, “It is imperative that people–not just students–understand the First Amendment and that a free press is necessary for democracy. People have a right to know what the government is doing so that if it is doing something wrong, they can address it. Having a journalism class is really important.

The high school also has a school newspaper. Ms. Pflaumer said, “Not all schools do. I think that is sort of scary, as kids need to understand the media because it shapes public opinion.”  Not every school around the South Shore offers journalism, either, even though it has many benefits.

This new class will open future opportunities for students who have an interest in digital media and/or journalism. It is also for those who just want to try something new with their electives. And the hope is that by having students learn about journalism and then operate all the equipment themselves it might possibly spark an interest in using digital media and reporting out the truth.