How I started a journalism club during quarantine

Finding a club adviser in distance learning

While keeping up with schoolwork is hard enough during quarantine, designing and running a journalism club is harder. Having to put everything together, whether it’s filling out forms and getting permission or scheduling meetings, all things are more complicated in the time of a pandemic.

Ever since late last school year when our teacher at De Anza High School announced that our journalism class would be cut due to the school budget, I have been heartbroken. I want to be a journalist when I grow up, and I wondered how I was going to practice my skills without a class. This was when an idea came to me. I could create a journalism club so that I, and my fellow student journalists, could continue our work, just without the official class. So as the school year ended and then started up again, I decided to step up to the plate.

As this school year began, I was brainstorming ideas on what to do and how to do it. I already had the website and the administrator’s access to it, so I just needed people to be interested in participating and sign up. And I needed a faculty advisor, of course. From the looks of it, I had my work cut out for me.

As the days rolled on and project after project was due for school, suddenly the deadline came:  the club submission due date was tomorrow, and I had not even started to fill out the application. I freaked out thinking I wasn’t going to make the deadline. But I hopped on it and started filling out the paperwork. Online of course. The application asked all types of questions: What type of club is it? How many members? Who are the council members (officers) of the club? What is their contact information? I was concerned I didn’t have all of it. So I spent all day asking my club officers what their phone numbers were and what their ID numbers were. 

Everything worked out until the last question. I had to find a club advisor — and fast. I had emailed multiple English teachers asking if they would be able to do it, and it was always the same answer: no. 

It all seemed like a doomed situation until my old journalism teacher responded. He had told me to email one of the other teachers, who is in charge of printing and to ask her. With a last sliver of hope, I emailed her in an attempt to complete and submit my club application. She had responded quickly and said yes! Abandoned hope was discovered. I quickly filled out her information and submitted the application with glee.

Within the next couple weeks, lots of prep work had to be done. I put together a Google Classroom Remind along with getting familiar with other clubs on social media platforms. I posted questions on Google Classroom to see what other student journalists wanted to write about. Finally I went to Club Rush to find new recruits for the club. 

Then the day came for our first meeting. I was extremely excited to meet the new members of the club.  Several students had followed my postings on Instagram and were on the Remind, too, so I was hopeful. I started up the Zoom call. The club officers joined, and we waited for the Zoom meeting to commence. Unfortunately, only two new students showed up

 That was disappointing. But the students who did join were nice and seemed eager to write. 

Although there wasn’t a super big turnout on the first Zoom call, I’m still hopeful. I really want this club to be a thing for years to come at De Anza, and I want to have future students get something good from our efforts. For the time being, I am going to keep working on the club and strive for the best,