Principal Dr. Ben Dale is creating the new All Media Arts Department, which merges La Vista, Mustang Morning News and Hoofprints. Although a single department would better unify the outlets, their combination would ultimately adulterate each individual outlet’s unique structure and impair the foundation vital to shape its invaluable student leaders.
Dale proposed the department to promote growth in print and online media on campus in addition to streamlining a conjoined introductory program and increasing communication among all three electives so that they work together as a cohesive unit, he said.
Dale highlighted that the combination of the media electives would allow for a “coordinated media department,” therefore decreasing the separation between the electives, he said. According to a La Vista survey of 179 students currently in a media elective, 84% believes that competition is necessary to produce higher quality work. Competition is vital to fostering productivity in the electives, and without it, they would fall flat.
This year, Mustang Morning News, La Vista and Hoofprints have all won awards such as the Broadcast Story of the Year award, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Silver Crown award and the Walsworth Gallery of Excellence award, respectively. Evidently, the individual programs are already successful in their own rights and do not need reformation.
Dale’s proposed plan also entails a two-year introductory program that exposes students to all of the media outlets in four semester-long courses. According to the survey, 72% of respondents believes it is crucial for students to take more than a semester of introductory classes to have enough experience to take on a leadership role in the following advanced class, which is when students are officially a part of staff. Without the benefit of current introductory classes, leaders of the electives would not be as prepared in running each program, inevitably hindering the already prosperous electives.
Additionally, 62% believes that the new courses will worsen the quality of each individual outlet. Clearly, a redistribution of student participation from their specific media electives to more introductory courses will detract from the achievement of each outlet.
Dale claims that all advisors should know about the following changes to media programs; however, Hoofprints advisor Valerie Park said that she still has not been informed about the proposed two-year introductory program. Dale has, therefore, failed to properly collaborate with the very advisors and students who will be directly impacted by his plan, thus clearly putting these organizations at a disadvantage in coming years.
An alternative to the proposed plan could be for entering freshmen to select two of the four semester-long introductory courses to take for their first year of high school. Students would still be exposed to more than one elective while having enough time to fully commit to a single outlet. For those wanting to experience an elective for all four years, Costa should continue to offer the current six-week elective option over the summer.
The creation of the All Media Arts Department and its two-year introductory program is a problematic change that will undoubtedly stunt the successes of each organization and prevent students from fulfilling necessary leadership roles, ultimately deconstructing the very nature of Costa’s already award-winning media programs.