By Ava Harris (Happenstance Art Editor)
As Nease high school expands and changes throughout the many years, so does its newspaper. The Nease Vertical has existed for so many years, specifically since 1984. So many years that we students haven’t been here at Nease for, and for most of those years we weren’t even born yet. There’s been lots of ups and downs, and plenty of changes. Staff members have come and gone, leaving their own impact on the Vertical. This year, there are specific changes that have impacted new and old staff in huge ways and might even impact future staff in up and coming classes. The biggest changes to know; technological advancements, and the growth of students in our staff. But why are these changes important? Because they affect the whole staff and the most important thing, the end product of The Vertical.
Because The Vertical started in the 80’s, a time when most technology wasn’t as convenient and used as much, writing, printing, and getting things done in time weren’t as efficient. But thanks to computers, the internet, and phones, we can write and produce at much faster speeds than we ever could before. And it will only get better and faster over time. Also communication between staff is extremely important, so having multiple ways to contact them like calling, texting, and social media is amazing and definitely needed. This technology expansion is also needed for keeping stories and other submissions organized in files online which creates less physical clutter on our desks and in our bags. Having the internet means that The Vertical could build a website, which we did! It has all the current news for Nease and more important topics or worldwide news. Social media is also an amazing creation that allows people to communicate and share ideas in many ways, such as creating accounts for The Vertical on platforms such as twitter, instagram, and Facebook which allows us to reach people in more convenient ways to keep them updated on current events right when they happen. Having social media as a resource also keeps the average person’s attention span, because most people nowadays spend the majority of time on social media of all sorts, so having these accounts gets our name out in the open and into people’s heads to remember. Sadly, most people nowadays people don’t want to spend the money on a newspaper, so having our stories still out on all different kinds of platforms is reassuring, and to know our name is out there for people to see and look at all the work we put into it.
As long as the world population keeps growing, more and more people are going to keep coming to our beautiful St. Augustine area. And that means more people going to Nease. So the sudden expansion of our staff doesn’t come as a huge surprise to most, but it does change how last year’s staff is used to working and it just calls for some slight changes. Some might think this growth in staff is due to some kind of schedule mishap or guidance counselor’s revenge, but it’s not. Because we all haven’t been here since the newspaper started to see the new staff every year and the size of them, we can’t say that this year is the biggest staff. But for absolutely sure this year is a huge staff, considering last year’s staff consisted of 14-15 people and this year’s staff is 30+, it’s very drastic. But having a larger staff has its benefits, such as more people to produce more stories at the same time which results in more stories making the print dates with less stress and rush, also makes the stories clearer and meaningful with the writers having more time to focus. Another benefit is that more people means more creative ideas. Having so many different people with different thoughts and opinions leaves so much space for the best topics and stories. This can bring more attention to The Vertical as the stories become more interesting and memorable because when multiple creative minds come together and brainstorm ideas, beautiful things can come of it.
Some smaller changes to also know about The Vertical are the look and feel of the actual paper such as the way we choose to layout, the fonts we use, the small things. Today we don’t usually see as much of the stereotypical black and white print newspapers that you would picture your parent reading with their legs crossed at the breakfast table in the morning. And that’s what past staff way farther back in the day produced and that’s what the people read and knew the Vertical to be. With The Vertical today, our paper has more of a fun modern feel with a thicker paper, and more of a book, that we think is mature enough to keep older generations interested, but sleek enough to not bore younger generations like us students. We also have color in our pictures now, which obviously makes the paper more fun instead of black and white. We specifically choose a certain layout and fonts to attract the eye and come off as mature and not messy. Nease is creating its own font, which we didn’t used to have the technology for, and it brings more of a personal feel and creates a signature marking saying that this is our paper and we’re proud of it.
I asked one of our own staff, Maria, who is the editor and chief of The Vertical , what she thinks about The Vertical and how she thinks it has changed. Specifically I asked; “How much do you think The Vertical has changed from this year compared to last year?” “The means of which teenagers communicate today are more digital. We communicate more through social media and The Vertical website. It has changed a lot because less high schoolers are willing to pick up a newspaper and actually read it. “Why do you think there are so many more students in staff this year?” “More students are interested in having not only their writing but layout skills published and shown off to their peers.” “Do you think these are good or bad changes?” “I think that these are great changes because we don’t have to raise as many funds as past years because nhsvertical.com is a more effective way to communicate the news to a wider range of people.”
Throughout the upcoming years, there will be so many more changes and it’s our choice to take them as good or bad things. It’s important to embrace change, because nothing should stay the same forever, although we might feel like it should. Without change we wouldn’t have all the advantages we have today that we didn’t when the vertical first started publishing back in ‘84. Today we are so much more comfortable and confident in what we are producing with the new technology and ways of communicating we can get everything done so much faster and make our stories with focus and passion. Though the staff is much bigger, we take it in the most positive way and use it to our advantage because that’s what you have to do. You have to welcome change.
Caption: Podcast Director Justin Tackling working on Issue 2 of the Vertical.
Credit: Ava Harris