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While some pundits believe newspapers are in their twilight years, print journalism is alive and well at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute.
The school's newspaper, The DMCEye, has been an integral part of DMCI for decades. The newspaper's morgue has editions that date back to November, 1955.
Today, the DMCEye maintains an online presence (found on the school's website here) as well as a print circulation of 500 copies.
"We deliver the paper all over school and to (DMCI's) feeder schools as well," said editor Stephanie Decena.
Students work on the paper with teacher Cynthia Jones as part of a credit-course at DMCI. They learn to research, access archival materials and most importantly, write for an audience of their peers.
"We'll discuss the outline for the paper in class, and then we'll go on to write most of it in our spare time," said staff-writer/entertainment editor Dylan Lumanta-Simon.
Along with covering student newspaper staples such as school events, extracurriculars, sports and the entertainment scene, the paper also features harder-hitting pieces on current events, such as Winnipeg's fentanyl epidemic, human rights and net neutrality.
During story meetings, editors will suggest article topics, and writers also have the opportunity to pitch ideas.
"For example, for an edition that's about to come out, one person wrote about bitcoin," Dylan said. "That has practically no relation to DMCI, but they thought that would be an interesting thing to talk about...(the story meetings) are a free-for-all but there's not really any conflict or tension that comes from bringing up what we're going to write about. So it's really just pick what you want to write about. As long as you are interested in it, then you know you can get a bit of an article out of it."
A lot of the hot-button topics at DMCI are a microcosm of those debated citywide, such as vaping and the use of scented products in public settings.
"An article in our second volume talked about how a lot of people constantly use scented products around the school even though a lot of people are allergic to it…everyone has to be aware of that," Stephanie said.
Surprisingly, the articles that have turned out to be more controversial are the entertainment pieces; Dylan confesses he's had more debate and feedback over some of his top ten lists and entertainment opinion pieces than hard news.
"Writing for the paper has been a humbling experience," Dylan said. "Our first foray into the paper, none of us in this room had done anything like this. In a school environment, you're (usually) never really producing for students, you're just producing for your course instructors. You're trying to impress your teacher and trying to get that A+. With a newspaper, it's different. You're expressing everything in layman's terms."
Teacher Cynthia Jones said the students who take on the DMCEye workload as a Grade 12 course are getting more than just a credit. DMCEye writers have gone on to take journalism at institutions such as Ryerson University. And even if they don't pursue journalism as a career, the students see valuable growth as writers.
"This is the assignment where I see the most growth in the students," Ms. Jones said. "These students literally stand in the hallways and hand out papers to kids, and then they'll show up to their next period and see everyone in that class reading their writing.
"It changes them…it's something intangible, but you can feel it. You suddenly have a room full of writers."