Going Behind the Scenes of Achona

January 10, 2017


Throughout the week they are working, staff writers must get at least two quotes from students and teachers outside of the staff. Photo Credit: Vanessa Alvarez/AchonaOnline

Achona Online has been Academy’s reputable news source for nearly seven years, supplying students with both entertainment and coverage of current events. While many are familiar with site itself, most are unclear of what goes on behind the scenes of the Academy staple:

How it runs:

Currently, Achona is comprised of nearly forty staff members ranging from sophomores to seniors who are enrolled in Academy’s Journalism course. Moderator Melissa LeBlanc describes Achona as a “business.”

She says, “I run it like a business because this class is an elective that reflects a real life occupation. I really want the girls to take ownership of the articles and the editors to take ownership of the writers. It’s essentially a routine – the way we work. The paper is for the students, by the students. My only job is to make sure it doesn’t go down in flames. Running it like a business gives the girls a sense of ownership.”

Staff members are given roughly a week to complete stories. With the blocked schedule, that gives writers roughly three, 85 minute class periods to perfect their pieces. The cycle begins with day one being dedicated to picking and beginning articles. Day two is known to staff members as “edit day,” while day three is the official publish day.

Senior Katie Hale says, “I always wonder how you guys choose your stories.” Photo Credit: Vanessa Alvarez/AchonaOnline

Day One//Picking articles:

On day one of the cycle, staff members scour the internet and school calendars in search of inspiration for their next piece. Achona has completely integrated technology into the development of the site, stemming down to submitting story ideas. Through Google Classroom, staff writers submit two story ideas, one of which they will be taking on that week. After taking about ten minutes to finalize their ideas, editors step outside to collectively assign stories.

Senior and arts and entertainment editor, Sophia Bahr, says “I find it crucial for every story to be unique and diverse. I always ask myself, ‘would I read that?’”

Day Two//Edit Day

“Edit day” is the class period designated for editors to begin checking in on their assigned staff writers progress.

Features editor and senior, Anna Padron, edits three to five stories a week.

Padron says, “On an edit day it’s important for staffers to have an outline of their entire story and at least 75% of it done. The more they have done, the easier it is for the editors to make corrections and the better the story will turn out.”

Staff members must have a little over fifty percent of their articles done on an edit day. While editors work on assisting staff members in perfecting their articles, writers continue writing their articles by gathering materials for content such as media and quotes.

Once editors have given staff members the “okay,” they can put their stories in the backend of the site.

The Achona sets are located in the iLab which was designed for collaborative work. Staff Member Olivia Stevens says the iLab is perfect for Achona since it’s so open and members don’t feel too constrained. Photo Credit: Vanessa Alvarez/AchonaOnline

Day Three//Publish Day

The beloved published day. On day three, all stories must be finalized and ready for publishing on website. Other than the story itself, staff writers must ensure their story contains media, a feature photo, and proper credit where it’s due. Once everything is perfected, editors finalize the piece and publish each article.

On “Publish Days,” Achona members must have stories finalized, perfected, and ready for publishing. This means each story must have it’s content, at least two quotes, and plenty of media. Photo Credit: Vanessa Alvarez/AchonaOnline

Year by year, staff members and editors dedicate much time and effort to ensure Achona is up to date and looking the best it can be.

First year staff writer, Olivia Stevens, says “Before I was on the staff, I didn’t realize the layout and the planning process that came with picking articles, editing and publishing. I didn’t understand how it worked with editors. They’re a lot more helpful than I expected. Achona can be stressful because of all the guidelines we have to meet while adding your own flare, but I am so glad I joined the staff.” 

Although it may seem simple, staff writers work hard to continue delivering constant content to Academy students.

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