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Blue Prints to carry on winning tradition
September 11, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen With two returning members, the rest of the 2013 staff of the Gering Blue Prints newspaper is new this year. From left, front row: Autumn Buehler, Annie Sebastiani, Nicole Brown, Holly Grote, Lexie Rupp, Olivia Anderson and Keagan Heilbrun. Back row: Allison Witcofski, Kunstin Barrett, McKenna Copsey, Tori Mueller, Cara Wimberley and Allie Baird. Not pictured is Morgan Wallace.

All but two members of the Gering High School Blue Prints newspaper staff are “newbies,” but they intend to carry on the award-winning tradition their publication has built up.

For the past three years, Blue Prints has been awarded the top high school newspaper in Class B by the Nebraska High School Press Association. Last year’s staff competed in every category that’s offered at the state level.

“We’re really excited to have this many people on staff for this year,” said Editor Holly Grote, one of the returning staff members. “Everyone is on the same page, so it makes it easier to get everything done.”

To be selected to the newspaper staff, students must maintain a high grade point average in English and be recommended by one of the English instructors. An editorial board of staff members then selects members for the upcoming year.

This year, the staff will focus primarily on their online newspaper, blueprintslive.com. Each quarter, they will also produce a printed newspaper. “It was hard to keep the online paper updated last year because we had a small staff,” Grote said. “Now with 15 people we can cover most every activity that’s going on.”

Sophomore Allie Baird said she thinks the online publication will be well-received with media moving more toward technology. Also, people can get the information in a timelier manner.

“I have family around the country, so rather than having to email them a copy of my stories, they can just look me up online,” said Kunstin Barrett.

Blue Prints advisor Janelle Schultz said there are slight differences in writing for websites as opposed to traditional print media. “It’s important for students to learn to write for online media,” she said. “When we look at real world technology and where our news media is going in the future, they have to have those skills if they’re going to be competitive in the job market.”

Schultz said they’re keeping the quarterly traditional printed edition because students need the skills of how to do page layout and design and how to process photos for publication. Graphic arts even come into play as staff members design the advertising that will appear in Blue Prints.

The newspaper staff also plans to get involved with multimedia this year. Journalism student will be paired up with students from the multimedia class. The journalists will write the news copy and present the story on camera. Multimedia class members will be in charge of the video production end. The video reports will be uploaded to the Blue Prints website. “We’re all learning this new technology together,” Schultz said.

With a mostly new staff, Schultz plans to continue the journalistic excellence they’ve shown for several years. “We’re still in Class B this year and there are a lot of good programs out there,” she said. “I expect the staff to do just as well if not better than last year. Do I think we can win it for a fourth time? Absolutely.”
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