The Origin of The Birdwatch


Source: Birdwatch Staff

Birdwatch staffers, Hala Essayli and Caroline Kerns, hard at work.

Daniel Padilla, Staff Writer

McAuliffe Middle School in Los Alamitos created an online news site and app this year called The Birdwatch. If you are unfamiliar with The Birdwatch, it is the official school news source that informs McAuliffe students of what’s happening within and outside of school. Let’s take a look at how The Birdwatch came to be.

McAuliffe offers a variety of options when it comes to electives, and the journalism elective, which runs The Birdwatch, was a new one this year. As the students tasked with creating this news site, we started by getting the class organized. We created jobs and each job served a specific purpose. We also needed a name and logo.

There were many names that our class came up with and voted for in a poll, and the winner turned out to be The Birdwatch. Next, there was the logo. Dr. Weiss-Wright had a few professional options created and we got to choose the one we liked the best. We went with something simple and clean that reflected our school. Before we launched, we had stories ready and we advertised The Birdwatch all over the school using posters and chalk messages telling students to check out The Birdwatch. We also had a raffle to get students to download The Birdwatch app. When it was launched, it was a sensation in our school! Students were reading and sharing their opinions on the stories. It was exciting to watch the comments stream in. We were even highlighted at a district board meeting.

Within The Birdwatch, we would write about the latest trends, news, and student-recommended stories. Each writer would research a relevant topic, interview sources, and create their story. Us Birdwatch staffers were put into teams to organize the whole process of creating an article. These teams or groups were organized so that every Friday a new issue would be published. We started off with two teams, then three, and then remained in four for the remainder of the school year.

Our stories have been getting stronger as The Birdwatch has progressed because our writing skills have improved. Also, it became more of a habit to hit our deadlines and have a quality article ready to be published.

This past school year was really fun being in journalism, especially with all the crazy events we covered in the 2019/2020 school year. Having a supportive teacher and students who are kind and willing to help when you’re in need made it a great class to take. The Birdwatch is a really fun activity to be a part of and an enjoyable learning environment. I deeply recommend for McAuliffe students to try journalism.

*Editor’s note – The Journalism elective will be combined with the Leadership elective next school year. Students in the Leadership class will run The Birdwatch.