Resurrecting the Paper

June 9, 2022

My name is Tristan Hearth, and I am proud to say that The Broadcaster is back! And the story goes like this…

I have always had an interest in writing and journalism, so coming into high school, I wanted to be part of a school newspaper. Unfortunately, it appeared that one never existed. Having moved to this state in seventh grade, my family was still growing roots in this community, and the history of the school was beyond us. Little did I know that the year before I entered high school, The Broadcaster had stopped running in the absence of an advisor.

It was not until the end of my sophomore year that I found the disconnected remnants of what was once the newspaper, and I quickly realized that it was something the school needed.

I reached out to Mrs. Kench (a former advisor of The Broadcaster), who helped me with my next steps – first having me email Mr. Manzo (Assistant Superintendent) to show my interest. It was then that I learned the whole story; a lack of support is what put the paper under, and with Kench’s recommendation, I knew what had to come next.

Using a website called Change, I created a petition that called the people of East Islip to show support for the return of a newspaper. It was at this point that I was reminded not only how much the English Department cared about the newspaper, but also about their students. With the excited support of multiple of my former teachers, over 150 people of all ages had signed the petition. 

With that, and with some former members of the paper who came out of the woodwork with interest to help, I had a case to make with the faculty.

I emailed Mrs. D’Aversa with my plans and evidence and we arranged a time to meet to talk about it. It was then I learned that a new English teacher was in the process of being hired… even better, one with a journalism background was at the front of the pack.

Knowing this, I realized that this was not an impossible dream or experiment. This could happen.

I knew that without the club being officially started, I could not make a concrete list of members, but an interest form was a starting point. I made a Google Form for roles in the paper, shared it with the same groups that shared my petition, and… nothing. Two people signed the form. To be honest, I was disheartened, but I had faith that the next year would draw in more people when the club was up and running.

Like magic, I was approached by Jacqueline Sweet of the Patch, who wanted to interview me regarding my efforts. It was unreal.

I told her everything about why I wanted to bring the paper back – “I feel East Islip isn’t complete without a paper.” Seeing my name in a headline was certainly amazing, but I was all the more excited just to have the word get out there.

On May 3, 2021, the article was published, and the push for The Broadcaster had reached the town beyond the school.

Without a satisfying conclusion, a hiatus came in Summer. All I could do was wait, but I was given the amazing information that the new English teacher was hired with a journalism background and a passion for the paper. We had an advisor.

One Summer later, I met with the man who would make this little dream of mine a reality – Mr. Augello. Dedicated to the cause, it was clear that Augello was going to do right by the paper. After our first meeting in the first days of school, we continued to keep in contact through email, organizing the various steps toward the club’s officiation under the school district.

Being as circumstances made us start the process at the beginning of the year, the newspaper was not truly open for business until November — in the height of various Winter-season activities, which was the play in my case — but since the slightly slow, yet turbulent start, the paper has been making steady progress toward its intended launch date in late May.

The greatest step of bringing The Broadcaster back was giving it a new face – a virtual one, and the one on which these words are displayed. Likely our greatest hurdle after getting approval was finding a platform that was not only suited to our needs but one that was accessible. SNO Sites, a branch of WordPress designed for student journalism, was the answer.

With SNO Sites, the team can coordinate and pool work together in one place, which is where you come in.

A year of planning and work has culminated in The Broadcaster making its long-awaited return, and what we need now is continued support for this effort.

If a reader, take a look at the sections of the website and see the products of East Islip students’ care and dedication. If you want to have your work displayed, or want to suggest a topic, feel free to email any of the members of the newspaper, and they’d be more than happy to help you out, and let this program grow.

With that, the story continues. It is impossible to know what the future of the paper holds, but I am happy to have helped it get started, and I cannot wait for whatever comes next.

A special thanks to all (re)founding members of the paper for your dedication, with special attention going to Kelly Waldron, who has been our gateway to the art wing, taking on much of the visual design; and to Jacob Franchi, who was not only one of the first members of the newspaper when it was official, but was also along for every bit of the process of getting it that point, lending his support to me. With them, I would also like to thank the parents who spread the word and made this goal known, and the teachers and faculty who made it a reality. 

My dream though it may be, I never could have made it happen alone.

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