#SJW2022: Adrenaline rush of deadlines encompasses spirit of top scholastic journalists


Josh Campbell

Scholastic Journalism Week is a yearly celebration of student reporting, held from Feb. 21-25 with the theme of amplifying voices. In the spirit of #SJW, The Sidekick adviser Chase Wofford thinks that true adrenaline rush in the D115 newsroom comes from the urgency of reporting and deadlines.

Chase Wofford, The Sidekick adviser

Deadlines make a newsroom. And news makes a newspaper.

Put them together and you get quite the adrenaline rush. When a Coppell football player scores a touchdown under the Buddy Echols Field lights, it no doubt gets their adrenaline going. When a member of Coppell High School’s award-winning fine arts programs nails a performance, I am sure they ride this adrenaline through the day.

When a The Sidekick reporter works the phones, hunts down sources, writes a timely story and comes to the D115 newsroom for editing, that’s my kind of adrenaline rush.

And that is what makes scholastic journalism at CHS an experience like few others. The Sidekick, coming to a newspaper rack every five weeks. KCBY-TV, coming to your screen every Friday. CoppellStudentMedia.com, dropping daily news and much more. Round-Up, providing one of the most anticipated days of every school year in May: yearbook distribution. 

Here in D115, as adviser of The Sidekick for 17 years, I still have a thirst and need for news and deadline adrenaline. It takes a special kind of student to be a high school journalist. And I have been blessed to have hundreds of them in this program.

Ross Taylor would have the story written before I even pitched the idea. Daphne Chen would write the story and take the pictures, edit the video and design the printed page. Marcus Krum would cover a high school football game like no other scholastic journalist in America. Alex Nicoll would be in D115 on our deadline days in his basketball practice uniform, knowing his coach probably wasn’t pleased he left practice to go to the newsroom. 

Nicoll and his staff had a deadline to meet. Can you feel that adrenaline? 

Sakshi Venkatraman would ask tough questions of anybody at any time, while always remaining respectful. Time is not your friend in a newsroom. Venkatraman understood that. Michelle Pitcher would camp out outside an administrator’s office until they answered her questions. Rachel Buigas-Lopez made sure The Sidekick never missed a deadline, and not one deadline was missed while she was editor-in-chief. Not a single one.

Why were they successful? Drive. In turn, their drive for news and scholastic journalism fueled my adrenaline as their adviser.

Missing deadlines and missing the story brings out the “dead” in deadlines. Getting the story and meeting that deadline; that’s an adrenaline rush and brings alive the entire newsroom. 

Clock is ticking. News is happening. There are stories all around. It is our job as scholastic journalists to tell them and report the news.

The reward is one heckuva adrenaline rush. 

Follow Chase Wofford (@bcwrolltide) and @CHSCampus News on Twitter