COE Supports School Journalism Program

County Office of Education Supports High School Journalism Program
Posted on 03/05/2024
PLEASANT HILL, Calif. -- Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) recently hosted a high school news reporting workshop as part of a new scholastic journalism program aimed at training high school students to report on their schools and local communities.

The workshop, attended by 13 students representing nine Contra Costa County high schools, marked the beginning of a new 5-month program designed to support journalism education and local community news. These students were selected by Contra Costa Youth Journalism (CCYJ), a collaboration between educational institutions and professional news organizations, with CCCOE serving as CCYJ’s fiscal sponsor.

“This project continues the longstanding support the Contra Costa County Office of Education has provided for high school journalism over the years,” Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey said. “Journalism is a vital part of our democracy and I look forward to seeing this new generation of journalists put the skills they learn through this program to use in their local communities.”

During the workshop, the students received lessons on reporting and writing news articles, including techniques for researching reliable information, conducting interviews, and structuring their stories. They were also introduced to the importance of a free press and the First Amendment, ethical considerations in journalism, and the incorporation of diversity, equity, and inclusion into news coverage. 

Starting this Spring, these student reporters will produce monthly articles about their school or a community in Contra Costa County under the guidance of the CCYJ editorial team, composed of Bay Area professional news professionals and educators. The articles will be published on a dedicated website and offered to news sites for republication. The program was made possible through generous support from the CalMatters’ Youth Initiative project. 

Research indicates that high school students who study journalism or participate in their school newspaper or yearbook achieve strong academic results that persist into college. Involvement in journalism also provides a creative outlet for students to exercise critical thinking, writing, communication and design skills. 

Furthermore, professional news organizations are increasingly turning to student journalists to help provide much-needed community news coverage. Local news plays a vital role in fostering community engagement and addressing political polarization, with youth journalists making significant contributions to this effort. 

Student Reporters for Contra Costa Youth Journalism:
Louise Aparicio-Weil (College Park HS)
Emma Mayta Canales (Deer Valley HS)
Haley Chelemedos (Acalanes HS)
Keerthi Eraniyan (California HS)
Wendy Fernandez (Pittsburg HS)
Grace Gallacher (Acalanes HS)
Sophia Goyena (Dozier-Libbey Medical HS)
Cassydee Guinto (Pittsburg HS)
Loujain Habibi (Liberty HS)
Andrew Ma (California HS)
Anna Messerer (Alhambra HS)
Tatiana Sims (Deer Valley HS)
Bailey Winey (College Park HS)


About Contra Costa County Office of Education
One of 58 counties in California, Contra Costa County (CCCOE) has the 11th largest public-school student population in the state (approximately 169,225 students). Officially established in 1932, CCCOE has a long history of providing direct services to some of our county's most vulnerable students, including young people who are incarcerated, homeless, or in foster care, as well as students who have severe physical or emotional challenges.

CCCOE also provides support services to schools and school districts in Contra Costa County; services that can be handled most effectively and economically on a regional basis rather than by each of the county's 286 schools or 18 school districts. These services range from budget approval and fiscal support to technology infrastructure, communication support, and high-level professional development opportunities for educators. CCCOE maintains a website at

About Contra Costa Youth Journalism 
Contra Costa Youth Journalism is a collaborative effort involving educational institutions and professional news organizations dedicated to expanding opportunities for Contra Costa County high school students to share stories about their schools and communities. This initiative seeks to furnish Contra Costa County residents with pertinent and practical local news and information. 

Selected students undergo comprehensive training provided by journalism educators and professional journalists. They are compensated with a stipend for their stories, which are published on a designated program website and made available to professional news outlets for wider dissemination.

The participating organizations are Bay City News Foundation/Local News Matters, California Scholastic Journalism Initiative, CalMatters, Contra Costa County Office of Education, Contra Costa Television, and Diablo Valley College Journalism Department. For further inquiries, please reach out to [email protected].

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