By Max ’25
Harvard-Westlake produces a number of student publications, both at the middle and upper school campuses. Aside from the yearbook, the two most notable are Spectrum, the middle school magazine; and The Chronicle, the upper school newspaper.
To write for any publication, students have to take Media for the Modern Age, a semester-long course offered in eighth or ninth grade. The class serves as an introduction to journalism for middle school students, covering subjects like the AP style guide, prioritization of information in an article, and proper sourcing. The course also requires little homework and few tests, which makes it relatively stress-free. After taking this class, you can write for print publications. I took this class last year, and I thought it was very enjoyable and informative.
To write for Spectrum, you must take the Newsmagazine Journalism class, which is available in both eighth and ninth grade. While students can technically write for the magazine after taking Newsmagazine Journalism, most people I know only wrote articles while enrolled in the class. This year, the magazine is set to publish two digital and two print editions. Due to its relatively infrequent publishing schedule, a large portion of articles are features rather than hard news. I’m taking this class right now, and I think this style is rather enjoyable: I write fewer articles, but they tend to be more detailed, interesting, and fun to write.
If you want to write on the Chronicle, you are required to take Modern Journalism I, II, or III, offered in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade respectively. Students who take this class can also write for Big Red and Panorama, two other student publications. The Chronicle is nationally recognized, so the paper holds a high standard of quality for journalism.
On all publications, students have a large degree of editorial control, including content and design. At the beginning of the year, our Newsmagazine Journalism class collectively agreed on the print schedule and general theme and content of each Spectrum edition. This is one element of the school’s publications that separates it from student newspapers and magazines in other schools–they’re actually student-run.
Writing for a student publication at Harvard-Westlake can be an incredibly rewarding experience. I’ve definitely enjoyed my time writing for the Spectrum, and it’s helped me to become a better writer and researcher. All of the school’s publications, including the Spectrum and Chronicle, can be found online here.