Behind the Scenes of ‘The Pathfinder’


Elle Rotter

Editor In Chief Sabrina Bohn shows the group of editors an idea for the week on her laptop at an editorial board meeting on Friday mornings. Bohn then edits the agenda for the week according to what the group needs to get done that weekend or the next week, by managing and overseeing the workload. “I work in class everyday–I’m a cadet teacher for Klevens, and I take CJ4–and the editorial board meets every Friday morning. I also work at home when I need to. Newspaper is a big time commitment, but since I really enjoy it, it doesn’t feel hard or even like other school work at all,” Bohn said.

At a table in the middle of the journalism room, 10 newspaper editors sit with their Starbucks and homemade chocolate chip cookies to discuss stories at 7 a.m. every Friday morning. They develop a posting calendar for the week and share how they can help each other make students’ visions a reality.

The PWest Pathfinder is a student-run newspaper under the direction of adviser Debra Klevens, whereby student editors pitch, edit, approve and create content.

“As a teacher, I am more of a coach in this role. This is a student publication so I have no decision-making. I guide students, but I never tell them ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a story: that goes completely through the editors,” Klevens said. “The best part is the students are so smart and so innovative, and they know more about what their audience wants because they are their audience.” 

Klevens believes that journalism provides students with communication, time management, problem solving and reporting, researching, business skills, technology skills and social media skills.

“You have to have face-to-face conversations. You can’t hide behind a screen. You’re basically running a small business. You have to understand analytics, you have to understand what customers want to read, you have to communicate both visually and verbally your writing skills. I just think it will help you in any job you do,” Klevens said. 

Managing Editor-in-Chief Sabrina Bohn feels the independent structure replicates the real-world.

“You can do your own thing rather than traditional learning everyday. There’s also consistent deadlines and a lot more communication and bonding between students,” Bohn said.

The students spend multiple hours everyday writing and editing content. Klevens is proud of the staff’s commitment to trying new and innovative technologies to interact with the reader.

“The group of leadership I’ve had over the past few years have just been dynamic students that are very passionate about what they do. They never settle even when they think they are at the top of their game. They continue to push and try to look for new ways to be innovative. What sets them apart is that they are always looking for new ways to engage our audience, and I think that’s important because it’s always changing, so we have to look and drive based upon our audience,” Klevens said. 

Editors and writers work together to ensure that every story contains a minimum of two news values. Students follow a deadline calendar and the staff communicates new events daily. 

“We’re always sharing ideas and working on different things so we can tag team on all sorts of projects all the time,” Conceptual Editor-in-Chief Carly Anderson said. 

Editors communicate around the clock using GroupMe and Klevens uses Remind to keep the staff informed of breaking news.

“There are a lot of areas of high school where people can feel excluded, whether it’s in class or in the lunchroom or at football games or after school. We want our paper to be a place where we represent everyone, where everyone feels like they can be written about,” senior and news and sports editor Lydia Roseman said.

As the school’s official news source, the staff of the Pathfinder strives to encourage unity within the student body, and to represent different perspectives around the school. 

Having a student-run newspaper allows students to give a voice to the school. A lot of times, young people aren’t listened to, but as our site grows, it really is becoming a trusted news source in the district,” Bohn said. 

Gathering every Friday morning, editors, seniors Emma Caplinger, Carly Anderson, junior Kathryn McAuliffe, and Journalism Teacher Debra Klevens discuss the possible photo of the week while eating homemade chocolate chip cookies made by senior Lydia Roseman who brought them for the group.

Journalism is a collaborative class with the goal to represent all aspects of the student body. 

“Working together on something, in any case, brings a group of people together, but especially with journalism, We are all fighting for the same purpose of getting people’s stories out of making a newspaper that students and parents will enjoy,” junior and staff writer Zoe DeYoung said.

There are many steps to writing an article for the Pathfinder. First, writers have to pitch their story ideas and get them approved. Then they have to write the story in the correct format and get it edited before it gets published. 

“Every story is different; two people could be given the exact same story assignment, approach the process entirely differently and in turn, write stories that are entirely different. It’s interesting to see how everyone arrives at that final destination,” Managing Editor-in-Chief Intern Tyler Kinzy said. 

DeYoung believes being curious about your work and having an open mind are two essential skills to creating good content. 

“I think that I contribute an open mind. I’m not someone who makes an opinion and sticks with it; I’m willing to see both sides of every story, and I think that that helps me as a journalist to know for a fact that I’m not getting one side of the story. I’m getting other people’s opinions too,” DeYoung said. “We just have to write about people from every race, from every background, from every social class, from every grade. I think that’s our duty as a newspaper: to allow everyone the opportunity to share their story. So we can understand that we’re a very diverse school, and there is not one person at the school that is the same as another.”