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Hillmen Messenger Editor proud of staff’s impact

Liske wants to be involved with current events
By: Interview Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Zak Liske, Editor-In-Chief of Placer High School’s student-run newspaper, The Hillmen Messenger sat down with the Journal recently to share about the school’s newspaper and his thoughts on journalism. Highlights of the interview follow. What do you love about being Editor of Placer High’s newspaper? “It’s a great opportunity to see what the real world is like. It’s probably as close as you’ll get to a real job on a high school campus. For me, I am really interested in current events and news. I like to know what is happening. Behind the scenes we know of little leads and scoops by a lot of people in the school. We are kind of the information center of the high school. It’s pretty wild to think that high school students are putting out a full on newspaper every two weeks. It doesn’t just miraculously come together. There is a lot of hard work that goes into it. Everyone is working together toward a common goal. What is one story or feature of the paper you are most proud of? “Well, this year alone I know our very first issue we had a feature about buses in our district and how they are overcrowded. It was a great experience. It forced changed. We got them to change the route. It was great just to see from public attention to have all these effects. Our staff reporter even talked to the CEO of the bus company. It may not seem like it to students, but it’s a very powerful tool.” What is your job as the editor? “My job is kind of to steer the ship in the right directions. It’s kind of the nitty-gritty stuff. I do a lot of hands-on editing as well.” What are some more challenging aspects of producing a student newspaper? “Writer’s block and procrastination is the biggest setback. People can tend to put things off. Deadlines come often, so it sometimes gets a little tense. I wouldn’t say there is any bad blood. Not everyone has the same idea or agrees on everything.” What are the people like on your newspaper staff? “You get the great spectrum of diversity among students. Every different type of students is in this class. Not everyone is the best writer, but they all have really great ideas. We can get a feel of who in our school is going to react a certain way based on the people in the class.” What do you think the future of journalism is? The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, those will always be there. I don’t think it’s going to go strictly paperless. I love the paperless concept. Blogs and websites are great. Twitter, in journalism I see that as a very powerful tool. The interaction allows us to see breaking news. Last year in our journalism class we watched the Chilean miners get rescued. That allowed us to see in real time what happened. Everything is becoming so readily available. There is no lack of information anymore.” What are your plans for the future? “I am a senior. I am looking at UC Davis or Sac State to study business, or possibly communications or political science. Whatever it is I plan on doing I want it to be with current issues and debate about what is best for the future.” What else would you want to tell people about the Hillmen Messenger? Our paper is completely funded through our ad revenue. We use the schools resources, like computers and classroom, because we have First Amendment rights. We are a public forum completely produced as a student newspaper. Our adviser can only advise. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.