The Gael Online

One Year From Now: A Snapshot

A look into the Gael's transition from newspaper to magazine since 2014.

Amy Chang, Staff Writer

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Beginning in January 2015, the pages of the Gael Magazine have rolled gleefully from the printing press into the halls of SHS. The Gael is a glossy update from the traditional Gael Winds newspaper of the past, replacing black and white type with vibrant script and grainy snippets of pictures with high-resolution photos. Swept down the gilded road of nostalgia, current college freshmen and recent alumni of the Gael reflected on their decision to make the transition from newspaper to magazine.

Rewind two years to the Gael Winds’ glory under a national spotlight. The publication was the only high school newspaper in Connecticut to receive the award of First Place with Special Merit from the American Scholastic Press Association in 2013. The successful chapter of the Gael’s legacy left big shoes to fill for the editors of the 2014-15 school year. However, Online and Managing editor Sara Brown, currently a freshman at Fordham Univetrsity, claimed that the staff had approached the challenge undaunted with the idea of a news magazine, something many writers had supported since the dawn of the school year. The concept sprang into bloom during the annual high school journalism conference that Brown and former Arts and Entertainment editor Ta’shay Gordon and other Gael editors attended in November 2014.

“During the conference, a majority of the schools expressed how they recently made the switch to either news magazines or completely online and how positively their schools received the change,” said Gordon, now a freshman at Siena College. The staff of the Gael hoped to elicit similar positive reception from the student body with a magazine to replace the unwieldy spreads of old-fashioned print.

So what were the benefits and downsides of the magazine compared to the status quo? “The news magazine was more economical and more student-friendly,” Brown said. “[The magazine] enhanced our layout skills and my personal favorite was the full color.” On the other hand, magazine pages were much smaller than the vast expanses of newspapers, making it more difficult to optimize space for content. “This constricted many of the articles we wanted to write and added the pressure of balancing word count versus quality,” Brown said.

After some deliberation, the editors decided to venture into uncharted territory.

“We had taken a poll to demonstrate the student body’s opinion to the Board of Education during our presentation to gain approval, and the majority of the student body was excited and eager for the switch,” Brown confirmed. The Gael Winds newspaper enjoyed its final issue in the fall before the curtains closed and reopened to stage the debut of the Gael Magazine in January 2015. The magazine received praise from students and staff alike, most notably for the improved visuals and readability of the format.

But the quality of the magazine hadn’t vaulted into existence through “mere prattle without practice,” as William Shakespeare would’ve quipped. According to Gordon, adjusting to the production of a new publication required dedication, in which “everyone helped out where they could, even if it didn’t directly pertain to their designated editor position.” Brown agreed with this assessment and added that a few detours in the dreaded road of technology mishaps had demanded that the staff “completely recreate the [Gael] online website.” As managing editor, Brown maintained that she concentrated on her job of facilitating the timely production of the magazine while ensuring consistent quality of the news reporting. Today, Brown said that she is proud of “how amazing our news magazine is.”

One year later, the Gael Magazine is thriving under the eager efforts of the current staff – a combined group of 27 writers from both Journalism I and II classes. Although the two levels of Journalism had always been taught in separate periods, September 2015 marked the beginning of daily collaboration between editors and staff writers under the guidance of senior editors in-chief Julia Mancini and Vanessa Masick. During every eighth period of the school day, they comprise a lively hub in room 120 of adviser Mrs. Gretchen Webster.

 

 

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