Montgomery Blair High School’s independently run student newspaper, Silver Chips, is currently operating exclusively for the web.
Since Montgomery County Public Schools have moved to online learning, Blair senior Prayag Gordy—an editor for Silver Chips—has realized “the student media is the local media.”
Silver Chips has 80 staff members, made up of reporters, editors, photographers, puzzle makers, media specialists and more. The staff is used to creating a newspaper, but the paper’s printer is closed since it isn’t considered an essential business.
Despite this setback, the news organization has become a force on Twitter. Gordy and other student journalists have actively covered the coronavirus and Gov. Larry Hogan’s press briefings. Students and teachers are still settling into online learning, but the student reporters haven’t missed a beat, sharing informative graphics, and explainer videos on how to make masks.
Gordy says Silver Chips covers COVID-19 with its student audience in mind. So when, for example, Hogan discusses unemployment benefits in a press conference, the student reporters opt out of covering this aspect of the story since it’s not directly relevant for teenagers.
Over the last month, Gordy says he’s learned a lot more about breaking news.
“I have to be correct and I have to be correct immediately,” Gordy said.
Silver Chips is continuing to amp up its website as it moves to an online publication format.
“I know every single one of us wants our stories to get out there, wants to make an impact,” Gordy said.