Propaganda Class…………….#56 (the 50’s)

Gary’s first year on the school newspaper “Ye Castle Crier”

No more high school english,  it was News I & II  in the eleventh grade and publications in the twelfth,  the quest as a journalism major having commenced.   Gary’s interest in the school newspaper wasn’t  limited to attaining his goal of becoming the sports  editor,  his query of journalism was more in-depth than reporting an event and he expected  this class to be a conduit to learning the structure of written expression.   The Teen soon discovering journalism study wasn’t about writing,  but about perception,  determination,  separation and accumulation.    This novice student sensing a new perspective was about to unfold.  He was astonished when discovering only twelve students in the News I class,  having never realized let alone subject to a class this small.   The current Ye Castle Crier Publications Class was substantially larger with thirty-one staff members.  What was Still astonishing was when the class instructor Mr Roland Christensen informed the class that he preferred his the journalism class to address him by his nick name Chris and that his regular english classes addressing him as Mr. Christiansen.   Gary decidedly finding a place of residency in a castle,  a champion assignment,  an environment  of social,  political and entertainment activity, the journalism class opening doors to exhilarate a  world of discovery.

Mr. Roland Christiansen – Journalism Instructor

The syllabus for the News Class differentiated from the Publication class,  the News Class subject matter included,  terminology,  the five “W”s & a H in reporting (what, when,  where,  who,  why and how) and the insertion of Watch Words.   It was Watch Words that intrigued the teen, Chris explaining how to recognize interpolation, the hidden meaning, the reading between the lines and the use of opinionated adjectives, watch words, to slant  a factual sentence in an opposite direction. He stressed true journalism was  writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation.  The class examined various newspapers from different region of the country,  finding examples of influence in all the periodicals.   A strict rule of professional journalism was to be adherent, no opinion unless stamped with a  byline, but with the political atmosphere of the rising of socialistic doctrine and  communism the fringe opinions seemed to prevail,  the byline rule being overlooked or lost on its trip to a publisher.  Gary sensed a hierarchy was present within the senior publication staff,  rather than judge what he perceived and as a new journalism student he thought it was more suitable to observe.   Gary was somewhat critical of the sports editor Gordon Reitman, a non-sports enthusiast, questioning his position and reporting assignments, considering Gordon’s  Crier sports page bland,  like the daily city publications  it was nothing more than another statistic page.   He believed it needed personality,  concluding  that the sport arena was overflowing with unrecognized athletic student persona,  it just needed to be publicized.

Upper classmen sports editor Gordon Reitman

Mr. Ernest Sparakis – alias Tennis shoe Ernie

The Cub Edition of the Crier, the sole responsibility of the beginning news class was in the composing stage and would go to press the following week.   Gary volunteered to attend and write about the Varsity vs Facility basketball game.   The teen realized  his big opportunity and applied for a by-line on his sports article enabling him to  editorialize his game reporting.   He was determined to resist writing a sports column about the game containing only statistics.   Ernest Spirakis was Gary’s Chemistry teacher and in his room, hanging in perpetuity by the door  was a pair of tennis shoes.   Every Friday Mr. Spirakis would make an announcement asking the owner to come forth and remove them,  and every Friday there was  no results.   Gary jump-shot his faculty basketball story with the cap (headline),  “Tennis Shoe Ernie Scores”.    The article besides a statistical report of the game contained student antidotes about Mr. Spirakis and other faculty team members,  all mentioned  in good taste.  The article being  the talk of the school,  the sports writer knew, this was a good beginning.

Mrs. Astrid Laws – Gary’s study hall supervisor

Yvonne Siedl feature page editor

The Ye Castle Crier newspaper office was across the hall from Chris’s regular classroom,  it was small with two long tables end to end and two rows of typewriters, the office unoccupied most of the time.   Gary when moving onto the Publication Staff  found the Crier officer more convenient than to use his hallway locker on the other side of the building,  the room providing a home for his sack lunch, books and papers.   The aspiring journalist  achieved another small reward,  convincing Mrs Laws his third period Study Hall Supervisor that as a sports writer his time could be better spent in the Crier office and her being a P.E. instructor,  she concurred.   Lunch period in the Crier office followed study hall and this was followed after lunch with his regularly scheduled Publications Class, the three periods accumulating a significant amount of his school day in the Crier’s office which also enabled him to jump-start his other studies, namely homework.   The Teen began to submit other stories relating to school news, presenting a  number of  imaginative prose to the feature page editor Yvonne Siedl for publication,  but soon discovering after her editing,  the focus of the story was  totally lost.   He approached Chris about this subject and other frustrations,  hoping for some understanding , instead of comprehension he received an explanation,  from it Gary concluded, that in the newspaper business there is a hierarchy,  it’s called an Editor.

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