FAQ

Is being a part of the Smoke Signal an elective?
Joining the Smoke Signal staff means the Journalism class is a part of your schedule.  The class and the staff are one. Please be sure you have an available elective in your schedule in order to be eligible. Most applicants are rising Juniors, but we do admit rising Sophomores and Seniors. We do not admit rising Freshmen.

How does the Smoke Signal operate?
Although we are MSJ’s official school newspaper, we are independent in that we publish our content without administrative review. We begin the monthly cycle by choosing stories for each respective section, which are News, Opinion, Feature, Centerspread, Arts and Entertainment, Sports, Photos, and Web. Students then interview, conduct research and write several drafts. Finally, pages are finished and turned into the printer a few days before you all get to see it!

How much work does the Smoke Signal entail?
Work in the Smoke Signal is cyclical. Usually, more work falls on the staff writers in the first two weeks of each monthly cycle as they draft their stories and the editors are busier as they prepare pages in the second half of the cycle. A staff member of the Smoke Signal can expect their workload to be the equivalent of taking another class.

Do writers get to choose what they want to write?
Yes and no. In the beginning of a cycle, staff members bring in potential story ideas, editors decide on stories, writers pitch for the stories they’re interested in writing, and editors assign writers to stories.

Do you only admit writers to join the staff?
While first-year students are staff writers for all sections, we also value the skills of photographers, artists, and designers.

Where does the Smoke Signal receive the money for printing?
The Smoke Signal is a completely self-sustaining business. Besides writers and editors, we have managers that help run the newspaper; the ads managers are in charge of corresponding with local businesses. The money we receive from advertisements provides the money for printing.

How can I apply for an editor position?
Students may apply for editor positions at the end of their first year of journalism in a separate application process.

2 Comments on "FAQ"

  1. Can incoming 9th graders apply?

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