#SJW2021: Jesuit student journalists crafting deeper connections through local news


Trisha Atluri

Staffers of The Roundup, which is the Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas’s student newspaper, serve their community through impactful articles written about local events. This week is Scholastic Journalism Week, and today’s focus is on the importance of local journalism.

Sally Parampottil, Executive Editor-in-Chief

Had it not been for local journalism, the tale of 14 brave high school journalists for Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas’s student newspaper, The Roundup, facing off against seven members of the football team for a game of flag football would be lost in history. 

The Expository Bowl, as it is called, is an annual game benefiting charity. It is also one of many unique Jesuit events captured through its journalism program. 

For Scholastic Journalism Week, today’s theme is “Local journalism matters.” While this extends to community papers, student publications play a major role in chronicling their school’s narratives. 

“The importance of high school journalists is to document the history of the school and what’s happening in that moment,” Jesuit senior editor-in-chief Patricio Boy said. “Our publication particularly likes to focus on student voices and how students are feeling whenever given events are happening.”

In a world where there is so much noise coming from so many different angles, it singles people out so we can know how the individual person is feeling.

— The Roundup senior editor-in-chief Patricio Boy

Boy is a third-year staffer, having served as a staffer writer, associate editor and co-chief associate editor prior to his current position. From his tenure on staff, the most impactful story he has written is something a national or even state publication would not think to cover. 

“I wrote an article about a particular service that we had about depression and suicide,” Boy said. “It was in the wake of a suicide of a student. I wrote an article about that prayer service, and it was just a really beautiful prayer service. Giving the school a written, documented version of that prayer service was really important, and students can look back and continue to learn from it.”

Local journalism through the school publication allows for more in-depth and personal connections to the content of stories. With a staff of about 60 and a “forget what you learned in English class, this is a very different type of writing” mentality, Boy thinks writers flourish with the creativity that comes with being a student newspaper. 

“Our writers probably have a little bit more fun with an article just because our student culture is very unique to us,” Boy said. “Documenting that is really interesting, because you will see students take so many different paths to document the same story. A football game pre-COVID in the student section can get quite crazy. [We have] students write about that, take pictures and videos and put all that in the article.”

Despite a year filled with elections, a pandemic, a second impeachment and a historic winter storm, Boy and The Roundup staff have worked to localize and find community stories with a goal to focus on student voices. Though local newspapers have been on a decline throughout the nation, the actions of student journalists across the country have worked to combat threats of community news deserts. 

“It helps to give people individual voices and individual perspectives,” Boy said. “In a world where there is so much noise coming from so many different angles, it singles people out so we can know how the individual person is feeling.”

Follow Sally (@SParampottil), Patricio (@PatricioBoy2), @JesuitRoundup and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.