Upper School News

Newspaper and Yearbook Staff Members Pivot Their Publication Strategies 
Antonia Ehlers, director of communications

The power of the written word is extraordinary, and the Nueva community is lucky to have a group of students who firmly believe in its power and the responsibilities that come with it. In order to ensure that the Nueva student publications stayed true to this responsibility during shelter-in-place, The Nueva Current newspaper and Tidal yearbook staffs quickly pivoted their strategies for the rest of the year.

“The newspaper acts as an archive for student news,” said senior Isabel C. “This is a historic moment for everyone.”

Freshman Rohan Sachdev agreed. “The Nueva Current is part of the school identity and culture. Because of this, I believe that creating content is important now more than ever, to ensure that the culture of the school stays intact throughout this tough period.”

Nathan L., a freshman on the yearbook staff, noted that yearbooks gain value over time. “They’re meant to capture meaningful moments in a year, and this pandemic is definitely a life-changing moment for everyone,” he added. 

According to Tidal editor-in-chief Maya C., a junior, “Our main priority quickly shifted to covering current events as they occurred, for the sake of reflecting in its truest form what this year has been. I’m amazed at how smoothly the team managed to transition. To be thrown into an entirely new set of circumstances, particularly with such heavy worldwide implications, was not something we could have anticipated, but as a team we managed to find the little victories, silver linings, and moments of togetherness to feature within our yearbook. Plus, we managed to do it within the original deadlines, which is a victory in and of itself.”

This year’s Tidal will be the school’s 53rd volume, while the newspaper is in its third year and is published six times a year. Both are led by teacher and Digital Communications Manager LiAnn Yim.

Following the closure of our campuses, Journalism students redesigned their website, knowing that the final two issues would not be printed. Instead, they are now focused on producing web content and are not limited to a traditional newspaper cycle. New stories are published on the website every week. Meanwhile, the yearbook staff recognized it had a few pages left to finish and felt it was important to use these pages to document the Nueva community’s life during the pandemic.

“I’m so incredibly proud of what the newspaper and yearbook staffs have accomplished,” LiAnn said.

Even during usual circumstances, there are a number of factors the yearbook students have to consider as they produce the publication. One of the challenges is to balance the coverage of all three divisions—Lower, Middle, and Upper—in one yearbook, while maintaining a new and engaging theme each year. 

“This publication means so much to the community,’ senior and co-Editor-in-Chief Eugenia T. said. “It serves as a time capsule of each school year—encapsulating every sports game, dance party, and class project for students to look back on in a few years' time. My goal with this year’s publication was to truly provide a snapshot of the 2019–2120 school year and create a space for our community to reminisce. Thus, this year’s theme was born—Time Capsule.” 

In addition to the important role these publications play in reporting on and representing the Nueva community, students in both courses gain critical communication skills. 

“I truly believe in the importance of preparing students to communicate effectively, and to develop confidence in their ability to do so as they engage the world around them,” LiAnn shared. “Writing for an audience and gaining editorial experience impart immensely valuable skills that are applicable to so many areas. Journalism fosters skills that will serve students well in whatever fields they choose.”

Sophomore April Z. has taken the Yearbook class since she was in the seventh grade, when it was offered as a Middle School elective.

“I started out with no knowledge about the design or journalism aspect of it, but thanks to LiAnn and the rest of the Yearbook class, I have been able to learn so much,” she noted. “During these four years, my favorite part of being in the Yearbook class has been how much creative freedom we have had, even within the theme of the book. It has taught me so much about photography, design, creating layouts, and even general computer use.”

Junior and Nueva Current design editor Jordan M. has gained valuable leadership experience, in addition to the more hands-on skills. “The leadership positions are highly useful in gaining experience, not only as a leader and editor, but also as a member of a group project that relies heavily on collaboration and teamwork,” he said.

Since remote learning began, the students have had to apply their journalistic skills in different ways. They’ve had to change their tactics as they gather research and perform reporting.

Junior Grace H. said, “The process as a whole has become far more fluid and constant; there are no more time crunches as deadlines approach, and likewise we have no weeks of pause between print and pitches. It also feels far more crucial—as natural connection wanes, the sort of synthesis and deep conversation that news stories aim to facilitate become key and irreplaceable.”

“It’s been a lot easier to interview people,” freshman Anahita A. said. “Before the shelter-in-place, when we had to interview students and teachers in person, it could be difficult to find a time that worked for both the interviewer and the interviewee. During quarantine, on the other hand, everyone has more time.” 

“Journalism and creating the paper with LiAnn has been a crazy, fantastic source of frenetic excitement and a stability that I haven't found in very many other parts of life,” shared junior Willow Y, the editor-in-chief. “I love both aspects equally: the rush of meeting the paper's deadline gives me adrenaline, and the close-knit group of editors, staffers, and LiAnn has provided me with a rock of support. LiAnn has certainly cultivated and guided us to creating a great newspaper with beautiful design and engaging writing—if I do say so myself—but I think the arguably greater thing she's done is form a really strong community. That's not something that's very common, although it’s definitely much more at Nueva than at other schools.”

The yearbook staff has similarly had to shift its tactics for completing the yearbook. The students understand the weight of their responsibility as journalists and historians, and have aspired to capture the uniqueness of the 2019–2020 school year.

"Unlike most classes at Nueva, the Yearbook class works on only one project each year—the yearbook,” noted junior Sama Z. “Our goal this year was to create a book that captures all the special moments from the year, especially the ones students might forget about in 10 years."

According to LiAnn, the best yearbooks serve as historical records; their value is sometimes felt more keenly years or decades later. 

“The yearbook specifically serves to document any given year, and becomes more important when a year is significant,” freshman Adam S. shared. “Its most important role is to show how the institution and its people reacted and grew throughout the year, and I think a crisis forces change and growth in a remarkable way.”

Freshman Calder B. described the students as being similar to historians by reporting on the most current events and documenting real-life experiences and stories they will look back on one day. 

“This year, we decided to try chronological organization, which means we put in the book whatever content happened as the year unfolded,” LiAnn added. “When the shelter-in-place and school closure happened, we were perfectly positioned to cover that.” 

LiAnn’s students embraced the new direction and were thrilled with the results. She is an incredible mentor to them, and she helps them believe in themselves. “LiAnn constantly pushes our team to work to the highest of our potential, even if we didn’t know there was farther to go,” Eugenia said. “Her unwavering support has established a very strong work ethic in me, the same work ethic I try to instill in the younger members of our team.”

LiAnn added, “I’m enormously proud of my students for being so willing to go on this journey—it has been such a learning year for all of us.”

Hear from Journalism students:

  • "Most important are the community features, in my opinion. They help unite the Nueva community around how we're collectively adapting, and keep us up to date on what to expect." — Elizabeth B.-P. '20
  • "It's been a challenge, but a good challenge. Going online has pushed us all to rethink how we write." — Isabel C. '20
  • "Our reporting helps cultivate some of the joy, connection, and warmth that is too often missing from our new compartmentalized reality by showcasing the stories, thoughts, and worlds of the people we used to see every day." — Grace H. '21
  • "The Nueva Current is part of the school identity and culture. Because of this, I believe that creating content is important now more than ever, to ensure that the culture of the school stays intact throughout this tough period." — Rohan S. '23
  • "I think The Nueva Current is such a rock in the community. Now, more than ever, people are looking for information that is digestible. It is nice knowing that I am answering that demand." — Valerie B. '21
  • "Despite the drastic shift in the dynamic within the community, it still instills that sense of togetherness, and that we are not alone." — Lia F.-G. '22
  • "Since the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent shelter-in-place order and remote learning plan, The Nueva Current has pivoted not only in its stories and angles but also its publication format. In order to launch our website and publicize it, the editors decided to revamp it to ensure we were publishing articles on an easy-to-use, accessible platform." — Jordan M. '21
  • "As we're living in what could be the defining pandemic of the 21st century, it would be an insult to future generations if we refuse to preserve even just a fraction of youth's perspective during this historic moment. There's also, of course, the more practical reason that we as students need experience in publishing and writing stories tailored to a digital medium to gain a full understanding of journalism, as it's apparent that digital media is the way of the future." — Bayan S. '21

Hear from Yearbook students:

  • "We’re seeking community now more than ever, and if this book can preserve those moments and bring people together, then I think we’ve done what we set out to do." — Maya C. '21
  • "It’s ironic that this year’s yearbook theme was 'Time Capsule' because now the book (even more than before) fully demonstrates that theme. I know that I will always keep this yearbook (just like every other one) because now it is a part of history." — Nicole K. '23
  • "I think that this year's yearbook is especially important because, in a time where many students are feeling disconnected, it's nice to be reminded of our community, the many activities we did get to do, and the classes we did get to take before the shutdown." — Sama Z. '21
  • "The yearbook is a way for students to look back on their time at Nueva and the events that happened during that time. This year, in light of the current situation, it's even more valuable to be able to remember this difficult time that we all had to go through. The coronavirus is something that affected everyone, and if another similar circumstance happens, it might be nice to look back and see what we did." — Xander Y. '23
  • "We’re documenters, and although it’s easy to remember things off the top of your head, if we’ve done our job well we’ll all be able to remember more deeply." — Nathan L. '23
  • "I’d say that the staff has done a lot in terms of distributing the workload and increase communication to try and maintain the same pace that we had before quarantine. There’s been a lot more direct check-ups and sharing screens for InDesign, and it’s been helpful to be able to work together on Zoom even though we’re not together in person." — Laura C. '23
  • "The yearbook has been a fundamental part of capturing a school year and the events that have happened. Especially given the current situation, when the Nueva community is slightly fractured and we can’t see each other in person, the yearbook offers a way to connect the school through sharing stories and creating a time capsule. Years from now, the yearbook we’ve created will serve as a look back into Nueva’s past and how our community dealt with the COVID-19 situation." — Michelle Z. '23

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