Newspaper Moderators Take On District

Anya Balsamides and Libbe Christophel

The start of the 2015-2016 school year brings many changes throughout the hallowed halls of Pascack Hills and Pascack Valley alike. One of the biggest changes is also one of the most unknown – a district-wide project to improve journalism throughout both schools. Second year English teacher, Ms. Alana Rome, will be leading the initiative for the Cowboys, with Mr. William Rawson as her counterpart at Valley. For the new project, Rawson jokes that he plans on “taking a lot of naps.”

This will be Rawson’s second year in charge of The Smoke Signal, but he is not a stranger to the journalism world. Before teaching at Valley, Rawson worked for the New Jersey Herald as a sports writer for six years. So, Rawson clearly has a great deal of journalism knowledge that will help to enhance both The Smoke Signal and The Trailblazer in the future.

As the teacher selected to head the project at Valley, Rawson will be released from two of his five English classes. With this extra time, his task will be to focus on improving the journalism program with a specific focus on enhancing The Smoke Signal, Pascack Valley’s student newspaper. Rawson has multiple innovative plans to do so.

When asked to elaborate on some of his ideas, Rawson seemed most excited about one in particular – an annual journalism festival. “I would like it to be a low cost, low pressure, student facilitated conference,” he said, stressing the importance of bringing the schools together through a shared passion of journalism, instead of apart through competition.

Another idea that has come to him lately is to increase the amount of video content on the online newspaper in the upcoming school year. Rawson proudly states that the writing is solid. Because of this, Rawson has the opportunity to advance other aspects of the paper, such as adding videos and more blog posts.

Rawson is excited and passionate about giving students at Valley a voice and an audience. He hopes to take advantage of the fact that The Smoke Signal is online by having students reach beyond Valley’s walls and truly connect with the rest of the world.

Rawson looks forward to working with The Trailblazer in the future.