Masuk Free Press expands its influence online with new website

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Some staff members of the Masuk Free Press includes, from left, Aidan Silvestro, Stephen Horvath and Maureen Gorman. Missing from the photo is editor Talia Barnhart.

MONROE, CT — On a crisp spring morning, 27 Masuk students furthered their interests in  journalism as they typed away working on their articles. The Masuk Free Press, Masuk High School’s print and online news source, provides information to all Masuk students, teachers and families on an array of topics.

Stories range from focused, Masuk-specific activities to worldwide news. For decades, The Masuk Free Press has informed the Masuk community through their newspaper, printed monthly.

Students in Stephen Horvath’s class work hard to produce copies of the Masuk Free Press and to keep content fresh online.

Recently however, they decided to make the jump and add online accessibility through their website and social media accounts to appeal more to their young, teenage audience. The website originated as a way to keep the newspaper alive through the COVID shutdowns which forced students to work remotely from home. Even with the return of in-person learning, the online branch of the Masuk Free Press remains strong.

In the class at Masuk, taught by Stephen Horvath, students learn the fundamentals of journalism such as how to conduct proper interviews, formatting articles, taking pictures, and even working page design for the physical copy of the paper.

“The role of journalists in civics is something that is important for everyone to appreciate. From informing the general public about local events to even holding elected officials to account, the citizen journalist plays an important function in an educated, active society,” Horvath said.

The importance of keeping the practice of journalism strong through the next generation is a theme that is very apparent throughout the Masuk Free Press. Students being able to write personal, relatable stories about their peers is what makes the class so popular. It truly is a paper for the students, published by the students.

“I joined Masuk Free Press my junior year when coronavirus was still super apparent,” said Maureen Gorman, a senior at Masuk and editor-in-chief of the paper. “It acted as a new creative outlet and allowed me to have passion and excitement towards something despite all of the cancellations and quarantines.

“My favorite part is watching my peers collaborate and brew new ideas for stories and really creative page designs,” she added.

Computer page designing software is available and taught to all students in the class. Students decide on themes, headings and fonts for the pages in the physical copy of the paper that displays their articles.

Reporters and editors of the Masuk Free Press work quietly in the newsroom.

Technology is something deeply woven into what is taught at Masuk. As well as page design, students all have their own accounts and are shown how to post their own stories to the Masuk Free Press website.

The addition of online accessibility for students to read about each other is one that boosted the popularity of the paper greatly. As the world becomes more digital, the practice of journalism is adapting with it. Students are able to utilize the capabilities of social media to get more views for the paper and share articles they find interesting.

The world is ever changing, but Masuk students seem to be ahead of the curve and are keeping the practice of journalism alive and well through the next generation of writers.

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