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iPulse in Focus

A Look at How U.S. Student Newspapers Are Run: Part One

By Haleigh Keil

Sydney Burke is a senior at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, studying multimedia journalism. Not only does she manage social media and write for her school's award winning newspaper, iPulse, but she also happens to be a very close friend of mine. A couple weeks ago we were on our daily phone call, talking about each of our University’s newspapers and realised how many differences there are between The Gaudie and iPulse. Therefore, the idea for a new article series was born: a closer look into how US school papers are run versus how The Gaudie runs. At just 21 years old, Sydney has already built an impressive resumé in journalism, and I cannot wait to tell you her story.

Also from Natick, Massachusetts, Sydney and I attended different elementary and middle schools before both reaching Natick High School in the fall of 2016. Although we had many of the same classes together both in 9th and 10th grade, it wasn’t until we both transferred to Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall school for 11th grade that we began to connect. Flash forward to our senior year of high school, and we became extremely close, even though Covid brought our last year together to an unexpected halt. Our similar experiences at Natick High School- both leaving in the 10th grade- brought us together, and we’ve stayed close ever since, even though we are separated by a distance of 4,275 miles (or 6,879 kilometres) during the school semester.

Several newspapers with different alphabets used lying on top of each other.
Image courtesy of Rishabh Sharma via Unsplash

Sydney and I talked about how her interest in journalism led her to enrol at Lynn University, and this is what she wanted to share with readers of the The Gaudie: ‘My freshman year of high school I actually took an elective class called TV broadcasting, and I thought it was very interesting, but it was very much an introductory class. Following my freshmen year, I decided I wanted to take the next step forward and take the advanced version of TV broadcasting. The advanced version met with the regular version as well, and there was a new teacher for the class. Something she brought up to our class was that if you were a news anchor for the week, you would get extra credit points. So I said, “Yes, give me those extra credit points, I’m gonna do it”, so I did. She absolutely loved how I anchored the news, and she asked me if I would be willing to do it for the whole semester. She agreed to keep giving me extra credit points for it, and that was the moment I realised that this was something I’m passionate about and even more, this is something I can make a career out of. While I was in advanced TV broadcasting class, I was also struggling with anxiety and depression, which ended up leading me to switching schools my junior year. Unfortunately, at my new school, Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall, they did not have any sort of journalism program that I could take advantage of. So I ended up taking a little break from writing, but I always knew that was what I wanted to do in college. Fast forward to looking at colleges, my junior/ senior year of high school. I always knew I wanted to go to college in Florida. I love Florida so much, it’s so beautiful. I’m the kind of person who is happiest out in the sun with palm trees surrounding me. I love it. So, I ended up at Lynn University.’

As someone who is interested in all things journalism, Sydney looked for ways to be involved on Lynn’s campus. Her freshman year, she became involved with Lynn’s Her Campus chapter. ‘For Her Campus I wrote a lot about beauty, since I’m very into makeup, and then I also wrote a lot about women in sports. My original goal was to go into sports broadcasting. I wrote about women in sports as I want to write about women getting the respect they deserve compared to men's sports.’ After working with Her Campus, Sydney joined iPulse during her junior year. This is now her second year on iPulse. ‘I serve as a staff writer and the team's social media editor. Last year, I was a part of a three person social media team and this year I am doing it by myself. Which is a little bit stressful sometimes, but also super exciting, because I have full creative freedom.’

High-tech camera equipment in front of two whiteboards,
Image courtesy of ShareGrid via Unsplash

For context, Lynn University was founded less than 65 years ago, in 1962. The school currentlyhas about 3,500 undergraduate students. Their student newspaper isn’t very old: ‘iPulse began in 2014, so it’s relatively new for a school newspaper. Back then [2014, when the paper was founded], I think they had about 10 students, and now it has gone up to about 25 students, who are involved in both the class aspect of it and the club. This year is the most students that we’ve ever had in iPulse history.’ The fact that iPulse runs as a class in addition to being a club is quite different from how things are run at The Gaudie, which is not a class. Sydney and I also talked about what drew her to Lynn, and she talked about how, during her tour of the campus as a prospective student, she was able to see the Lynn TV Production studio: ‘We have a high tech LED wall that was donated by one of our partners, Brand Star. We don’t use a green screen; we just have the LED wall. It’s so cool. We have high tech camera equipment, and what stood out to me the most about Lynn’s journalism program is that even though there are a lot of students in it, it’s much smaller than your average college communications class. So I was able to create relationships with my professors, network a lot better than I would be able to at a big state school, and make connections in my field that may help me in the future.’

You may already be able to see some of the differences between The Gaudie and iPulse. Obviously, there is a size difference between the two, but that is due to Aberdeen having over 14,000 undergraduate students as compared to Lynn’s 3,500 undergrads. Additionally, Lynn University has an extensive journalism program that requires students like Sydney to take classes involving all sorts of communications skills and iPulse itself can be taken as a class, and is in fact required for many majors.

Keep an eye out for the next edition of The Gaudie to hear more about iPulse as well as Sydney’s goals for iPulse this year.


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