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Redwood Bark

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Tamalpais High School News faces cutbacks: Students rally against reductions in creative stand

On Jan. 23 at 6 p.m., several members of the Tamalpais High School (Tam) News attended a Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD) Board of Trustees meeting to express their concerns with recent Tam News course cuts. Tam’s two Advanced Journalism periods have been reduced to one by the district for not meeting full capacity but, as a result, has limited the number of students available to participate. Haley Lefferts, a junior and a Feature editor for the Tam News, kicked off the meeting with alarming statistics to express her concern.

“This year, 48 students applied to the Tam News, but there were 17 motivated, passionate and excited students unable to participate,” Lefferts said. “The loss of a period most significantly impacted our monthly production time dedicated to designing and assembling our magazine.”

Junior and Feature editor of Tam News, Emerson Swift, shares statistics comparing class sizes with the members of the Board of Trustees.

The Tam News hadn’t always received limited opportunities for success, as noted by Sophia Weinberg, the Editor-in-Chief. 

“Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Tam News was a nationally ranked flourishing journalism program. It had [96] journalism students participating, which allowed students to update the website weekly along with monthly podcasts and radio shows,” Weinberg said. 

The students also expressed their anger over the opportunities that had been given to other journalism programs within the district but not their own.

“The Bark has three classes in their program, two for reporting and one for multimedia…The Pitch at Archie Williams has two classes and a total of 55 students in their program, which is almost equivalent to the number of students who showed interest in the Tam News this year,” Weinberg said. 

Tam News parent, Dillon Swift, expresses his support for the Tam News and for his daughter, Emerson Swift.

But the Tam News students were not the only ones who made an appearance at the meeting. Parents in the community, along with members of the Bark, came to stand in solidarity. Nancy Felder, mother of Lauren Felder, an Editor-in-Chief for the Tam News, stood before the board to emphasize the importance of the journalism program.

“What I see with the journalism program, beyond journalism, is the skills that they are learning and that they will take forward,” Felder said. “This year, Tam News has covered topics from rural politics to campus relations, and what they have had to deal with is community impact… That’s important because they need to know how to deal with these situations when they get out into the working world. They need to be able to communicate. They need to be able to know how to do the research.”

Another issue the team members have been set on tackling is the senior majority in Tam’s Nonfiction prerequisite classes. Lauren Felder recognized this issue as one of the reasons why the news program is lacking in members.

Expressing her concern, Tam News parent Nancy Felder emphasizes the importance of journalism.

“I’ve talked to many people who are interested in the program, but the problem is that many seniors end up taking nonfiction to complete their required English credits in order to graduate. In our classes, we have no underclassmen because of senior priority,” Lauren said. “The majority of students don’t know how to get into the Tam News and are denied access to this prerequisite because of this.”

The main goal of those who came to support the Tam News was to spread the word about the value of journalism to the Board members. Even the seniors, who will no longer be affiliated with the Tam News next year, took their time to speak at this event. Weinberg wants to leave the news team with more than she had for future creative minds.

Embracing one another, Ana Murguia (left), Hayley Lefferts (left center), Lauren Felder (right center) and Emerson Swift (right) proudly represent the Tam News Team.

 “On a broader level, journalism is something that is so important for our society today and so it is vital that Tam has a working and rigorous journalism program. [Although I won’t be on Tam News next year], I care about the future of our program,” Weinberg said. 

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About the Contributors
Nadia Massoumi
Nadia Massoumi, Opinion Editor
Nadia Massoumi is a junior at Redwood High School and is an opinion editor for the Bark. She enjoys listening to music, traveling with her family and friends, and baking red velvet cakes.
Hailey Carlton
Hailey Carlton, Reporter
Hailey Carlton is a Junior at Redwood High School. She is a reporter for the Advanced Journalism & Media program. In her free times she enjoys playing softball, going to Giants games and volunteering in her community.