History of nc media
The story of publications at North Central starts with the opening of the school. Thousands of students have participated in creating the hundreds, if not thousands, of publications produced during the last 50+ years.
The Northern Lights, the newspaper, now commonly called TNL, and The Northerner, the yearbook, both began during the first school year. Students named each publication during the first year NC existed. The presses couldn’t wait for a newspaper name, though, as early issues were labeled with question marks before the staff settled on The Northern Lights.
Early TNLs used a tabloid-sized layout to present the news. Little experimentation was done in the 1950s and ‘60s with the overall look of the paper. The nameplate changed, but the standard look varied little.
The Northerner, however, grew in size as the decades passed. The first edition came in at 122 pages, while the upcoming 2014 edition is 316 pages. The largest Northerner, published in 2000, was more than 560 pages, making it one of—if not the—largest high school yearbook’s in the nation. The 1998 yearbook was also revolutionary—it was actually two books presented in a red slip cover. This book would go on to win a Pacemaker Award, the highest honor a high school publication can earn. The 2006 Northerner was the first to go all color, meaning student photos were all in color for the first time.
Etchings in Thought, the literary magazine, was the third publication to come NC’s way. First published in 1961, Etchings annually published student literary and art works. Etchings was a continuous award-winner in national competitions, earning a first place Best of Show at the 2002 JEA/NSPA Phoenix convention. In 2009, Etchings in Thought went online before fading away completely in 2011. A continued lack of interest led to the end of this publication.
TNL staff members earned several honors and recognitions in the late 1990s for their coverage of a student on trial for murder. Student journalists attended court each day and presented several stories covering the crime in TNL issues.
Equinox was the fourth publication to be produced by NC students. It began in 1996 and lasted until 2005. Equinox went through several incarnations, first as a separate magazine, then as a supplement to The Northern Lights, finally as a special publication covering topics of student interest. Equinox never quite caught on like the other publications, and after several years of cancellation talk, Equinox quietly became TNL2 in 2006, taking on the name of the newspaper it once was a part of. TNL2 also lasted just awhile as interest in a second publication produced on newsprint just never caught on.
Central Intelligence helped lead to the demise of Equinox and TNL2. In 2002 the magazine class created Central Intelligence to become the premiere magazine at NC. Printed on glossy paper and at a popular magazine size, CI made its focus to present people-centered stories that would interest the student body. In 2004 the staff created the popular “101 Most Powerful Panthers,” a feature that is still mentioned to this day. 2004 graduate Adam Ahlfeld edged out principal C E Quandt in the rankings to earn the number one spot.
In 2003 yet another publication debuted: The Score. The purpose of The Score was to cover NC athletics and the sports students enjoy outside of school. The Score was the only pure sports magazine published by Indiana high school students. It would last for four years.
Back to TNL. The mid-1990s saw the newspaper make great strides in coverage and presentation. During this period TNL began to be honored with national recognitions. In 2000 and 2003 TNL received Pacemaker awards. Various scholastic journalism publications began to feature TNL and other NC publications in their own publications at this time.
In 2000, TNL started to publish full-color pages each issue. The paper has shifted from broadsheet to tabloid size as the years have progressed. Now, the paper is printed in full color each issue.
Changes to the magazines took place again in 2007. With other schools naming their media entities “Central Intelligence,” the staff decided to change things up again. 1801 debuted in place of TNL2 and Central Intelligence. The new magazine was the first to go all-color. 1801 was published twice during the 2007-2008 school year. 1801, too, saw a short run, as in 2010 it merged with The Northern Lights as part of a cost-savings measure.
When the performing arts department presented “The Laramie Project” in 2009, publications — for the first time — published a special edition in conjunction with the performance on the topic of tolerance. Copies of this paper were available for theater-goers all nights of the production.
During the last few years, NC Publications have ventured more to the on-line world. Facebook has become a popular site for editors to post publications-related content. Student journalists use Twitter to send out breaking news, sports scores and the lunch menu.
NCHS Live (www.nchslive.com) is the first official website for publications. A companion site on Facebook has almost 1,500 fans, a number unheard of at other schools.
An iPhone and Droid application was also created for NCHS Live!, now allowing users to access content directly on their phone.
NCHS Live! expanded to a broadcast program in 2012, appearing as a television segment that appeared frequently after the daily announcements. After just a few airings, the broadcast portion of NCHS Live! won a national award.
Another highlight of the 2011-2012 school year was quite possibly a first-ever in scholastic journalism history, at least in Indiana. Prior to North Central playing Columbus North in the state finals in girls basketball, the newspaper staffs at both NC and CN worked together to create a special publication that was distributed prior to the game.
Tout, a social media service that allows users to post no more than 15 seconds of video at a time was added in 2012 to further connect with readers.
With changing times, journalism students have worked hard to know the best way to reach readers and now viewers. Because of these changes, readers no longer have to wait weeks to find out what is going on; now readers receive updates each and every day.
As the 2012-2013 school year began, publications’ students oversaw The Northern Lights, yearbook, website with daily updates, five Twitter accounts, a Facebook page, a Tout site and iPhone application. Balancing traditional print and emerging media, students are at the forefront of cutting-edge technology creating some of the best student media in the country.
During the winter of 2013 TNL Gameday debuted — a special publication distributed at athletic events that included the rosters for the game. After a successful trial run, Gameday looks to be a regular feature during the 2013-2014 school year. Not to be outdone, TNL At the Show will also debut, to be distributed at performing arts events.
In 2012 all journalism students came together to work on special edition books as well, the first covering the week of homecoming.
Students who have participated in North Central Publications have gone on to work at CNN, NBC, various local network affiliates and newspapers. They are doctors, engineers, teachers and scientists. They are in the NC Hall of Fame. Our program has turned out hundreds of successful young people who went on to do great things. Without a doubt, journalism students do better.
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