Newssite of Contra Costa County student Journalism

CC Spin

CC Spin

CC Spin



CCSpin is the website of Contra Costa Youth Journalism, a collaborative effort involving educational institutions and professional news organizations dedicated to expanding opportunities for Contra Costa County high school students to share stories about their schools and communities. This initiative seeks to furnish Contra Costa County residents with pertinent and practical local news and information. 

Thirteen students representing nine Contra Costa County high schools were selected for the program in December 2023. Between February and May 2024, they will be reporting and writing on a variety of news subjects relevant to their schools and local communities under the guidance of the CCYJ editorial team, which is composed of Bay Area news professionals and educators. These stories are also being made available to local news organizations. 

The students have received lessons on reporting and writing news articles, including techniques for researching reliable information, conducting interviews, and structuring their stories. They have been introduced to the importance of a free press and the First Amendment, ethical considerations in journalism, and the incorporation of diversity, equity, and inclusion into news coverage. 

The program was made possible through generous support from the CalMatters’ Youth Journalism InitiativeThe Contra Costa County Office of Education is the program’s fiscal sponsor. 

Research indicates that high school students who study journalism or participate in their school newspaper or yearbook achieve strong academic results that persist into college. Involvement in journalism also provides a creative outlet for students to exercise critical thinking, writing, communication and design skills. 

Furthermore, professional news organizations are increasingly turning to student journalists to help provide much-needed community news coverage. Local news plays a vital role in fostering community engagement and addressing political polarization, with youth journalists making significant contributions to this effort. 

CCYJ/CCSpin Staff

Bruce Koon, Program Coordinator and  Writing Coach

Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig, Writing Coach

Sherman Turntine, Copy Editor

CCYJ Collaboration Representatives

Marcus Walton, Director of Communications and Special Projects, Contra Costa County Office of Education

Neil Chase, Chief Executive Officer, CalMatters

Michael Lozano, head of CalMatters Youth Journalism Initiative

Kat Rowlands, President of Bay City News Service; Executive Director, Bay City News Foundation, and Editorial Director,

Stephen O’Donoghue, Director, California Scholastic Journalism Initiative and Coordinator/Writing Coach, Student Education Reporter/Sacramento School Beat

Mickey Huff, Department Chair, Journalism, Diablo Valley College

Michael Levitin, Assistant Professor, Journalism, Diablo Valley College

Chris Verdugo, Operations Director, Contra Costa County Office of Communications & Media, Contra Costa Television

At-Large Editorial Adviser, Instructors and Guest Speakers

William Gee Wong, author, former managing editor and columnist, Oakland Tribune, and reporter, Wall Street Journal

Charleen Early, workshop instructor

2024 Student Reporters for Contra Costa Youth Journalism:

  • Louise Aparicio-Weil (College Park HS)
  • Emma Mayta Canales (Deer Valley HS)
  • Haley Chelemedos (Acalanes HS)
  • Keerthi Eraniyan (California HS)
  • Wendy Fernandez (Pittsburg HS)
  • Grace Gallacher (Acalanes HS)
  • Sophia Goyena (Dozier-Libbey Medical HS)
  • Cassydee Guinto (Pittsburg HS)
  • Loujain Habibi (Liberty HS)
  • Andrew Ma (California HS)
  • Anna Messerer (Alhambra HS)
  • Tatiana Sims (Deer Valley HS)
  • Bailey Winey (College Park HS)

For inquiries, contact [email protected]


Our youth journalism program adheres to the four principles of ethical journalism as described by the Society of Professional Journalism:

  • Seek Truth and Report It
  • Minimize Harm
  • Act Independently
  • Be Accountable and Transparent

Special consideration for youth journalism

While professional journalists are expected to maintain strict objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, high school journalism operates within a different context. Transparency about potential biases or conflict of interest is still important, and we ask our student journalists to disclose their involvement in a particular topic or event to maintain transparency and accountability. Then we discuss with them their ability to maintain objectivity in their reporting. We believe that reporting occasionally on topics in which they participate provides students with an opportunity to learn about ethical journalism practices, including how to navigate potential conflicts of interest and maintain journalistic integrity. We ask them to minimize their involvement in such instances and avoid active participation. 

We are a member of the Journalism Education Association

If you have questions or concerns about a particular story, please contact [email protected].