Livingston-Tangipahoa community photo gallery for Nov. 20, 2014 _lowres

Advocate staff photo by CHRISTINE MORGAN -- Staff writers at 'The Buzz,' first row from left, are editor Harley Bourgeois, Dana Hudson, Luke Callahan, Keri Disedare, Elizabeth Blackburn, Jacob Pettigrew, Haley Banks, Emily Anthony, Savannah Woodward, Margaret 'Neally' Kent and Tyler Updyke; and second row, Breanna Carver, Rebekah Graef, Tanner Frazier, Katrina Taylor, Dustin Spring, Joey Bates, Dakota Wild and Austin Tullier. Not pictured is Laytyn Addison.

Students at Albany High School believe they can improve communication among teachers, students and members of the community with a new school newspaper.

Called “The Buzz,” the newspaper, which started last month, profiles students and teachers, details high school sports and features club news, said editor Harley Bourgeois, a student at the high school. It’s the school’s first newspaper since 1965, Bourgeois said.

“We wanted to communicate with students and staff,” Bourgeois said. “We felt like if we had something to hand out, they would be able to read about what’s happening at their school.”

Staff writers, newspaper sponsor Deborah Anderson, who teaches financial math, and others provide story ideas, which staff members then talk over. They then decide which story ideas — such as a student who hunts alligators — are interesting and different, Bourgeois said.

“We keep an ear open for what students are talking about,” Bourgeois said.

Bourgeois said the paper often highlights students who have interesting hobbies outside of school that students in the school know nothing about.

For example, in the next edition, writers will highlight nine sets of twins, an impressive number for a school of about 600 students, Bourgeois said.

For Austin Tullier, a 15-year-old freshman, his job as a staff writer has given him a chance to talk to more people, essentially providing him “life experience,” he said.

“It’s always been one of my dreams to be on the yearbook or newspaper staff,” said Neally Kent, 16, adding that she’s thinking about pursuing a career in journalism.

Tyler Updyke, 16, said he’s always been “interested in what’s going on.”

“I thought it would be a good idea (to join the staff) to see if I want to do this (as a career),” he said.

Dakota Wild, 15, said his job as a sports writer gives him a chance to hone his writing skills and talk about his passion: sports.

The students work on the articles on their own time, and give up their lunch time once a week to meet and discuss story ideas. Bourgeois, who took the lead to start the newspaper, designs each issue on his own time after school.

Anderson said she’s hoping the newspaper grows into something that the community endorses and that area residents send story ideas to staff writers.

“This community doesn’t have a newspaper,” Anderson said, adding that the school paper intends to cover some community news and offer local businesses a chance to purchase ads. Currently, teachers and students can purchase small ads to wish someone a happy birthday or promote an event. The money raised from ad sales will go back towards publishing costs, Anderson said.

More than 1,000 copies of two issues last month were distributed throughout the school and placed in local businesses, Anderson said.

“I had a newspaper in high school and I just know how much students enjoyed it,” Anderson recalled.

In addition to honing their writing skills, Anderson said staff writers are learning how to work together as a team, developing leadership skills and learning to communicate better.

She said she wants students to learn to appreciate newspapers instead of relying solely on the Internet.

“Reading the newspaper is kind of a lost art,” Anderson said. “Technology is great but sitting down and reading something is important.”