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The voice of the next generation

Written by Nicholas Serrano. Posted in Featured, People in the News

Published on April 25, 2012 with No Comments

Matthew Stefanski among Indiana’s top student journalists

The field of journalism is full of inquisitive and curious individuals, story tellers and photographers. Often self-motivated and determined, journalists have a duty to their readers to bring information to people’s attention in an accurate and concise manner, all the while maintaining ethical transparency.

Matthew Stefanski, the editor-in-chief of the student-produced news publication at Victory Christian Academy (VCA) in Valparaiso, is a shining example of this.

Son of former son of former Times columnist Mary Stefanski and brother of Daniel Stefanski, author of “How to Talk to an Autistic Kid,” it could be argued that journalism and writing are in his blood.  In fact, Stefanski spearheaded the ambitious task of starting a student newspaper at VCA.

 “When I came to Victory Christian Academy, I was interested in journalism but they didn’t have a program. When I sat down for my application interview during my freshman year, I asked about a newspaper and a journalism class and they said it would be a possibility,” said Stefanski. “I wouldn’t say I was pushy, but every so often I would approach the administrator about the idea of a student newspaper. Every couple months I would ask about it. I showed persistence and I proved that I wouldn’t give up easily.”

Stefanski’s determination paid off and, with the help of Andrew Jones, former editor of Grace College’s newspaper and newly-appointed adviser for VCA’s newspaper, the Victory Voice was born.

The Victory Voice has a staff of nine students and helps bring a much needed source of information for the student body and an outlet to help them express their opinions. It’s a huge responsibility, one that Stefanski appreciates and respects.

“I manage a staff of eight other students who at first were unfamiliar with journalism. By working with the managing editor and our advisor in order to help the staff learn about style and journalism, it’s been a huge benefit to our paper,” said Stefanski. “Running a paper takes a huge part of my schedule. If something isn’t done right or content isn’t available, it’s my fault. It’s a huge responsibility because I have to make sure we meet our deadlines on time and we’re producing an accurate news publication for our students in a timely fashion.”

Stefanski’s work led him to be recognized by the Indiana High School Press Association (IHSPA) as one of the top ten finalists for its Student Journalist of the Year award.

The upcoming valedictorian at VCA, Stefanski also maintains a GPA of 3.9 He has attended the High School Journalism Institute at Indiana University for four years as well as writing workshops at Ball State and the University of South Carolina. Initially during his first few years of education and journalism training, Stefanski learned skills with the camera, learning how to report and some computer programs. Lately he’s focused on convergence, being skilled in print and online reporting.

“People say journalism is dying, especially print journalism. I don’t think it’s dying, I think it’s changing. People will always want a source of print journalism, but more and more people are getting their news digitally. I think convergence is the way to go because you can cater to people’s news needs in any platform. We’ll always need a way to get our news. Journalism will always be around and as journalists, we need to adapt to society in order to continue to report the news accurately and efficiently,” said Stefanski.

Stefanski is still deciding what college he’d like to attend, although he’s narrowed his options down to Indiana University or the University of Missouri.

For more information about Victory Christian Academy, call 219-548-8803 or visit vcacademy.info.

To learn more about the High School Journalism Institute at Indiana University, visit journalism.indiana.edu/programs/hsji.  For more information about the Indiana High School Press Association, visit psj.franklincollege.edu.

News happens and changes in an instant, by coming to work each day as a journalist, you never know what to expect or what can happen. Going out and getting the facts while covering a story is exciting because you never know where the story will go. You can meet so many different people and develop all types of relationships in the community. I want to accurately and efficiently report information to them and hopefully exposing wrong-doing and tell people things they don’t know about their community and society.

Matthew Stefanski, senior at Victory Christian Academy, was recently recognized by the Indiana High School Press Association as one of the top ten Student Journalists of the Year.

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