Talon Receives National Award for COVID Coverage, Plans to Continue Through Crisis

While the doors of Timber Creek High School have been shut due to the COVID-19 Crisis, Timber Creek Student Media has been continuing to create content, inform the community, and win national recognition in the process.

On Friday, April 17, the National Scholastic Press Association awarded Timber Creek Talon with eighth place in the Best of Show competition for their COVID-19 coverage. Talon’s coverage included multiple breaking news articles on each phase of the shut down, features on how essential workers and student athletes were dealing with closures, and many informational announcements for the community.

“When we started covering COVID-19 news in regards to the Timber Creek/KISD community, I didn’t think twice about it. It seemed like the logical response to the situation considering the outlet that Talon reporters have access to,” Editor-in-Chief Brooke Boyer said. “When Mr. Janda told the staff that NSPA had added a COVID coverage category to their awards this year, I thought it was super cool, but our main focus was always to get the news out to the community as quickly and thoroughly as possible. However, when I found out that we received an award at the national level for our coverage, I was blown away. It still doesn’t feel 100% real.”

Even with the competition being over, Talon’s coverage of the crisis continues as students conduct learning from home while quarantines continue. For many students, that means time spent on Canvas or Google Classroom working on content, but for Talon reporters, their class looks significantly different.

“Because the bulk of the Talon’s work is online, aside from interviews and pitches, Talon adapted to working from home with haste,” Boyer explained. “Instead of seeing each other everyday, we hop on Zoom calls at least once a week to check in, pitch stories, ask questions, and then get to work. The shutdown has made it easier to write, edit, and publish stories quicker, because we aren’t sitting in another class until someone can get home to edit.”

As the end of the school year gets closer, Talon would traditionally begin wrapping up content and quit publishing new content after a specific date. During the crisis, however, Talon and other Student Media sections have vowed to stay working — even after the school year ends — to keep our community informed.

“Talon has always been focused on telling the news, stories, and achievements of the TCHS community, and since many events have been pushed back through July, it is only logical that we as a staff work through that time as well,” Boyer said.

For 2020, Talon will continue to publish May through August to update the Timber Creek and Keller ISD community via a volunteer force of current and former Talons. Important articles will be shared via Twitter, Facebook and other social media sources.

“During these times, all we have is each other, and I hope that Talon and be a force to calm everyone’s nerves, and hopefully bring a little sunshine to everyone’s days,” Boyer said.

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