Fresno Christian High School
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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Feather’s legacy is here to stay

Fresno Christian publication remains a steadfast voice for over forty years
The+Feather+Print+Edition+ran+for+28+years%2C+between+1982-2010.+
The Feather Print Edition ran for 28 years, between 1982-2010.

The clacking of computer keys permeates the classroom as Feather journalists dive into their work. A light chatter fills the fast paced news lab, leaving a buzz of productiveness in its wake. Twenty-eight students, split between two class periods, comprise The Feather Online. Each individual contributes to the preservation of the publication establishment from Fresno Christian Schools

The significance of news publications in the United States can be traced all the way back to the formation of our nation. Our founding fathers saw the importance of communication not dictated by the government and a place for the people to have a voice. The media provided a necessary checks and balances system for those in power. Journalists could write without the fear of the government coming for them solely because their opinions did not align. The press’s protection was prioritized in the First Amendment. Since then, it has been aspired for the voice and articulation of journalists in the United States to be fortified. 

The Feather was established in 1982, carrying the weight of preserving voice – the voice of the students on Fresno Christian’s campus. The objective has always been for young journalists on the team to represent their classmates’ voices, raise awareness of campus life and be an outlet for innovation. The mission is to inspire both the writers and readers. The newspaper does not give the students a voice, but amplifies each voice, by growing confidence and articulation. 

Our Arts and Entertainment editor Meilani Gilmore Young, ‘24, sums up what this looks like to represent student voice. 

“Student voice in journalism gives students the opportunity to express their thoughts, passions, and opinions,” Gilmore Young said. “The world needs the voice of the next generation.”

Greg Stobbe served as The Feather’s advisor for over two decades. (The Feather)

In the early years of The Feather, each article was meticulously written, laid out and printed. The print edition had eight to twelve pages and would be published four times a semester. Once a year a special edition would come out with sixteen pages. Greg Stobbe was adviser of the school publications at the time, and reflects on the long nights spent before print day, it was a tedious process. 

Stobbe recalled that he attended a meeting with the Superintendent at the time, Tim Wilkins; that would become the first of many steps to the creation of our online newspaper. Wilkins suggested that The Feather utilize new technology and upload articles on the internet. They used Highwire as the first platform for articles to be given a worldwide audience and this would become the earliest version of The Feather Online that no longer exists. This practice coincided with the print edition until the 1999-2000 school year when Highwire folded and everything disappeared in a click. 

After this tragic occurrence, Stobbe met with his team and decided to switch from a template-based education company to a self-created website. This was no small transition and required strenuous work, but by the fall of 2001, The Feather Online was up and running. This novelty blazed a path for other school newspapers to follow in our wake, utilizing an online option for the opportunity for a nationwide audience. The Feather program was set apart from others, as it was student-run through and through; they had built it up from zero. 

For another decade, The Feather print edition and online option coexisted. The print newspaper received numerous San Joaquin Valley Scholastic Press Association awards. It reached the peak of excellence when the 2008 print was honored with the SJVSPA’s Sweepstakes and All Valley newspaper for best print high school newspaper from Bakersfield to Lodi. The online option has also received praise and has already won CSPA Gold Digital News Crowns and even NSPA Online Pacemakers

The 2005 Feather team traveled to Columbia University and won first place with marks of distinction for the National Scholastic Press Association. (The Feather)

A new era was in sight and despite some pushback from other people, Stobbe and his students concluded that it was time to go all in on the internet. The team realized they were getting more looks and clicks from across the nation than we were in Fresno County, not to mention the apathy shown to the print edition By the fall of 2010, The Feather became an entirely online newspaper. 

Kori James joined The Feather staff in 2014 as the newest advisor. James used her experience as a professional photographer to train and amplify the photojournalism aspect of The Feather. That same year, the online newspaper again experienced a crash in the website. There had been some anticipation for a similar situation but nothing could prepare the team for screens to go black and their work gone. Very little was able to be salvaged. The students alongside advisors Stobbe and James worked tirelessly to construct a new site for the newspaper. The website was up and running again by the fall of 2015, yet the team still struggled to get student engagement.

Despite the lack of local interaction, Fresno Christian students eventually came around as the paper-less era set in. They used methods such as printing out and hanging articles on a bulletin board in the hallway. The Feather recognized the power of social media platforms; Twitter was an influential asset. In 2016, when mobile devices became more common, students became more responsive to our news source. This idea of instant updates that could remind students of the upcoming game, or what their peers were involved in on campus became very desirable.  

Instagram became a great platform for student interaction as it worked with both photo and video aspects that were appealing to the young eyes. Current Photo Editor Mallory Friesen, ‘25, voices her explanation of students’ tendency to click and scroll for their updates. 

“I believe that students use social media as their news source out of laziness,” Friesen said. “That’s why I think it very important for The Feather to keep up daily posts and reels on day-to-day school activities and news around the area, otherwise we will miss our intended audience.”

Currently, the most used social platform is Instagram, which is utilized for daily communication through posts, stories, and reels; polls and comments are used to interact with our viewers. The Feather’s feed is updated several times daily and has accumulated over 7,250 Instagram posts.

The 2023-24 staff has 28 students under the leadership of Adviser Kori James, and Editor in Chief Miracle Neal.

The Feather takes pride in not only the quantity of work produced but also the quality. Whether writing or photography-based, journalists undergo training in the basics of both on their mobile devices to participate in “backpack journalism.”

The term backpack journalism has been thrown around in the publications world, meaning someone who is the writer, photographer, and videographer for their assignment. Despite being taught how to utilize all three skills, Feather journalists usually specialize in one of the three and undergo more detailed training. 

After a redesign in 2015, maintaining a self-run website proved to be harder and harder as technology evolved. For several years, the website deteriorated because of using so many widgets via WordPress. By 2020, the website was inoperable. There was a period of limbo when The Feather Online was on life support. For three years, it was a ghost of its former glory. Finally, in 2023 the new website was launched thanks to the collaborative help of SNO sites. Launching a new site required a period of rebuilding, however, The Feather showed its ability to persevere again.  

Even though the school is under 250 high school student population there have been close to 25 students each school year that have joined the team. But when schools went online it was a struggle to hold down the fort as a school newspaper during COVID. The pandemic was a rift in journalism in the Central Valley. It wiped out the drive of students, and with it other journalism teams. Editor in Chief Miracle Neal, ‘24, reflects on the importance of student voice, and the consequences of letting it fade completely. 

“Student journalism connects students to the issues that are being faced in today’s world,” Neal said. “Letting student journalism disappear would result in students not being able to articulate and develop social and political opinions, which is extremely important as we are the next generation to take charge. Not being able to form and respectfully communicate our opinions problems will continue to go unsolved.”

As the last running online newspaper in the Central Valley, The Feather hopes to spread awareness of the diminishing art of journalism. Student publications are the connection between the upcoming generation and the world, which is why it is so vital to continue the legacy and build on it.

To read more from The Feather read, Black History Month spotlight: Simone Biles raises the bar or Geena Davis captivates audiences.

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About the Contributors
Danielle Arndt
Danielle Arndt, Editor
Second-year journalist, Danielle Arndt, ‘26, continues her journey as a returning writer for The Feather Online. Arndt believes in the importance of integrity, dedicating herself wholly to whatever she puts her mind to. Self-proclaimed movie enthusiast, she loves immersing herself in the cinematic world, hiding from reality. Writing has always been the way she could express herself and the stories living rent-free in her mind. Arndt aspires to be an author, she cannot hold her excitement to grow in the fields of journalism.
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