The MYP Design Cycle: essentially seeing the need for a product, creating that said product and then evaluating it. Students choose to make all sorts of thing–3-D fidget spinners, furniture, simple robots, even articles of clothing. But what happens when you decide to create a student news website?
Well, that’s exactly what the 9th and 10th grade Journalism (under the Design umbrella) did this year. That’s right: I’m talking about The Bite.
As I, one of the first students to witness The Bite’s creation, sit here and type our 168th post, it’s safe to say that I’m at least a little bit in awe of how far The Bite has come. But for students who weren’t in Semester 1’s Journalism class, it might be harder to understand how much of a big deal it is. And with that, here’s a quick overview of The Bite’s beginning stages, its current state, and what it may have in store for the future.
Then: How The Bite Began
Starting from scratch is never easy. In the beginning, all we had was a teacher, a group of high school students, and the mere abstraction of a school newspaper without a logo or even a name. And so, that’s the step that kick-started The Bite’s creation: designing and brainstorming the newspaper’s trademark through a series of workshops.
Sophia N., the current Multimedia Manager for The Bite, also happened to be the student who designed the winning logo.
“It felt great, and I was happy to contribute to the website,” Sophia says. “There were many other amazing logos and names made by other students, which makes me proud that my logo was chosen out of all of the options.”
Some of the runner-ups were AISB’s Blood Type, Silent Types, and even The Talking Dead; but in the end, it was Sophia’s short yet catchy name that won the votes and hearts of secondary students.
“What I love about the design is that it is fairly simple, but the B in ‘Bite’ is fun and interesting,” Sophia continues.
Then came the hiring process. Few may actually remember this, but The Bite sent out an application form for 9th and 10th graders to become staff members on the Journalism team. Head of the program, Ms. Jennifer Stevens, who originally edited and posted all the content, decided that the site should be more student-led, and hired four students to retake the class as staff members second semester.
Ninth grade Copy Editor Maya T. says, “I really liked helping out in this unseen kind of way. As a copy editor, I got to help the writers become happier with their work, and the readers were also happy because the content was easier to understand.”
From then on, it was a combination of students writing stories and planning marketing projects for the website, and the work done behind-the-scenes by the staff members that made what The Bite is today.
Now: What The Bite has Become
In less than a year, The Bite has grown from a rookie school newspaper to one recognized by communities beyond our own. This fact hit us the hardest when the March For Our Lives event at AISB (led by the Journalism team) gained the attention of the international magazine Affinity, mentioning both our school’s movement and The Bite in an article. Our statistics also say that we now have more than 6,000 readers and a total of over 100,000 page-views which, if you compare it to the complete lack of such in September, I’d say that’s very, very cool.
It’s safe to say that none of us had anticipated such a positive response for The Bite.
“There were no set goals of creating a print or digital newspaper, and I had never been part of the MYP Design department,” Ms. Stevens explains. “Basically it was a lot of trial and error, but I am thrilled with what my students and I have accomplished.” She concludes, “I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out.”
Soon: Future Plans for The Bite
Lots of changes will be coming to the Journalism course next year, according to Ms. Stevens. Due to her working full-time next year, she will be teaching Journalism to all 9th-grade Design students. “I’ll also have one group of 10th graders for the whole year, and they will take on different staff roles within The Bite,” she says.
And the development doesn’t stop there. Not only will we be starting a weekly news show, but I myself (aka Toyosi, the 10th-grade copy editor writing this), will be leading a CAS project to generate more suitable content for 11th and 12th grade students (with the help of Ms. Stevens, of course).
All in all, The Bite has become an institution of like-minded writers who strive to surpass the limits of what one school newspaper can do. So we’re not just a website. We’re not just a newspaper.
We’re a community.
A community that, very honestly, is going to have a break like the rest of you on summer vacation – a mini-hiatus, if you will. So, no new articles for a while. We encourage our readers to stray away from any school-related things during this time as well. But that doesn’t mean you should stop reading. Take a look at some of our older articles (in the archive) that’ll make for some good summer reading. In the meantime, have a great summer, and we’ll see you all in August!