The Royal Tribune meets the Hudson Reporter

A middle school newspaper club visits the offices of the Hudson Reporter and Bayonne Community News

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The students of the Robinson Community School newspaper club. Photos by Daniel Israel.
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The students of the Robinson Community School newspaper club. Photos by Daniel Israel.
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Students from the Walter F. Robinson Community School visited the offices of the Bayonne Community News and Hudson Reporter to gain insight into the work that staff writers, editors, and the art director do every day.

Thirteen students from the newspaper club at the Robinson Community School on West 31st Street came to the offices of the newspaper on Feb. 4.

Members of the club outnumbered the tiny yet mighty staff of the Hudson Reporter during its Tuesday afternoon tour. Editor Kate Rounds introduced the members of the editorial team, explaining their functions to the club.

The team includes Managing Editor Gene Ritchings, Art Director Terrri Bish, and staff writers Marilyn Baer and Daniel Israel.

After meeting and hearing from the staff, the Robinson School students spoke about the stories they’ve written for the Royal Tribune.

The students, from grades 5 through 8, write for a weekly online publication. Moderated by teacher Daniel Alfieri, the club meets once a week to write and publish stories on its website.

As on a professional staff, students hold positions like editor and writer. The students write about topics ranging from what they learn in class to upcoming school events and reviews of their favorite musicians.

Alfieri said the primary goal of the trip was to show the students what life was like as a journalist.

Students observed an important staff meeting, saw how edits are made to the final layouts, and witnessed for themselves how the art director lays out pages.

The club sat in on an editorial meeting to see firsthand how the newspaper’s editors work with staff writers to bounce ideas off each other and form captivating stories. A question-and-answer session covered key topics, including separating opinion from fact, how to find story ideas, and where to get sources.

After a doughnut break, the middle-schoolers were shown page proofs with corrections before they are sent off to the printer. Art Director Terri Bish showed students how she retouches photos for the company’s three magazines.

A look at potential careers

At the end of the day, students said they had fun learning, on site, new things about creating newspapers and magazines.

Rena Khalil is an eighth grader who has been writing for the Royal Tribune for around three years.

“The interesting stories and articles grabbed my attention,” Khalil said when asked why she joined the Royal Tribune. “I like seeing people’s different points of view, and I might learn something new about the topic.”

Eighth grader Victoria Okomkwo is interested in investigative journalism. Okomkwo said she was drawn to the newspaper club for the social experience.

“I love interacting with people, I’m a very social person,” Okomko said. “So to get their ideas plus my ideas so I can write a story, that’s just amazing to me.”

The students said they learned a variety of things about newspapers during the visit.

Okomko said she had a lot of fun talking to people who write stories about things she hears in the news.

“What I took away was about how to handle personal bias,” Okomko said. “For me it’s hard to put my feelings away when I’m writing.”

Other students said they learned how to better find story ideas.

“I learned many new things like how to brainstorm and get better ideas for my stories,” Khalil said.

Students told the Hudson Reporter that they could see themselves working as writers or art directors after observing some of the staff.

“I like art so I would love photography and the like,” Khalil said, referencing Bish’s work with graphics and photos.

Others envisioned themselves as investigative reporters, going undercover to get the scoop.

“I’m intrigued with being a reporter,” Okomko said. “I like the idea of going undercover for a story.”

“Whenever young journalists want to visit our offices, we are always thrilled to welcome them,” said Editor Kate Rounds. “The journalism business has seen enormous change in the last couple of decades. We need smart young journalists to do the crucial work of informing the public. We look forward to following the careers of these bright and curious Walter F. Robinson students.”

The Hudson Reporter looks forward to hosting the school newspaper club in the future.

For updates on this and other stories, check and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at