How to Make a Paw Print


Nicholas Welch, Staff Writer

One of the many forms of media BHS uses is journalism, which is covered by The Paw Print, a class dedicated to making newspapers for BHS. The Paw Print is a class that sophomores, juniors and seniors can take. Helen Zoss, the teacher of the class, went into more detail. “This was my first year in the role of adviser for the newspaper, so roles were mostly established when I took over the class. We currently have an editor-in-chief and a design editor, as well as some social media positions. As the program continues, I’d love to have a formal application process for the different positions.”

Zoss explained the credits one can earn while taking the student newspaper class. “The Paw Print is a co-curricular class where students publish physical newspapers as well as online articles. Co-curricular means that students receive academic credits for being in the class, but there are also extra-curricular components as well, such as after-school worknights and attending various events happening around school. As staff members of The Paw Print, students come up with story ideas and work together to put together the newspapers that are passed out to every BHS student, as well as the web articles posted online at”

The staff in The Paw Print consists of two editors and thirteen other writers. Each student works to create a professional, full newsmagazine. “Students are responsible for pitching story ideas, conducting interviews, doing research, taking their own photos, writing articles and creating designs for the newspaper,” Zoss added. “Students also seek out ads from local businesses, which helps us maintain our online platform for publishing stories. Overall, the idea is that the newspaper is as student-led as possible.”

The students work hard to create articles, which can be a lengthy process. For each issue, students must come up with ideas for their article, which takes place during a group meeting after the previous issue is released. “The students come up with the article ideas. I simply help guide the focus and facilitate the discussions at times,” Zoss stated.

Sophomore Renee Walmoth, a writer for The Paw Print, explained her process when finding a topic to write about. “[I find ideas] through experience. I do a lot of sports; I do track, cross country, I do swimming, and I’m involved in a lot of clubs, so I like doing my articles on those things.”

The design-editor, senior Mitchell Velikan, also commented: “We all write unique stories, some based on the school, some based on their own thing. We go out and interview people, get quotes and we make this finished project that goes into the print then is distributed to everybody. Sometimes it’s just what I’m into at that time, like I’ll just throw something together, sometimes it’s what’s going on in the school, or something that happens that time of year. It just depends on what comes to mind.”

After the discussion and planning, the students get to writing.

As students write their articles, Zoss oversees the progress. “The first month of school, we do a boot camp to teach new students the basics of journalism. During this time, I plan lessons, create assignments, etc. After that, my main role is to facilitate the creation of the newspaper and the online content. Our physical copy of The Paw Print is published five times during the school year. However, there are also web articles published every Friday on”

Around the end of the final deadline, editors and Zoss will look through articles and correct/change anything that needs adjusting. “While students are the ones coming up with story ideas, I communicate with our publisher and manage the online content. I, along with the student editors, help edit articles before they go off to print. However, most of the responsibility lies with the students to make the newspaper and the class what they want.”

The responsibility of a writer is to complete a certain amount of work for a deadline. Editor-in-Chief, Caleb Peschke, said that his job as an editor is to reread the articles and make sure they are up to the standards/guidelines. Velikan gave us a summary of his job: “To edit.” He added, “To help fix any inconsistencies between the articles and The Paw Print. Usually the people do a pretty good job of making their stuff, but mine is just to help shift things around if need be.”

The group working on The Paw Print grows together when learning about journalism. Between work nights and school hours, students in The Paw Print bond together. Walmoth gave her thoughts on the class: “It’s very fun. I love writing so I love being in this class. It can be interesting at times, but it’s a fun group so it’s always a good period.”

Behind the scenes, the members of The Paw Print always make it a fun experience. “When I’m not working on my own story or editing, I’m usually messing Will, Randy or Jase, but most of the time I’m working on my own stories or making a cover a lot of times because I do those,” Velikan said.

As we reach the end of the year, The Paw Print is wrapping up. “I’d love for BHS students to give more feedback on what they’d like to see in future articles. I’d also love for them to consider signing up for the class, particularly if they’re interested in writing important stories about things going on around BHS and the community,” Zoss said. After this year, The Paw Print will continue to create articles for the students at BHS.