The Chieftain Shifts to Digital Operations, Other Forms of Media

A brand new look for the PHS newspaper

Chieftain Logo

Chieftain Logo

As of the 2020-21 school year, The Chieftain, Piscataway High School’s newspaper, has shifted to fully digital operations and has started producing content in audio/visual media forms, a change from the print-based nature of the newspaper for most of its lifetime.

“We were looking at taking ito the next level,” Mr. Lojko, The Chieftain advisor explains. “Two, three years ago, we would actually print out copies [of newspapers] and hand them out to students in the hallways. Since then, we’ve transitioned to full virtual.”

The Chieftain, which meets every Monday from 2-3 in room D243, now operates from a website that was made completely from scratch by students in The Chieftain club and their advisor.

“Every single piece of the newspaper was completely rebuilt,” Mr. Lojko says. “I was preposterously proud of the work that everyone put into the new site.”

The process of shifting away from paper-based operations and venturing into new forms of media has been a gradual one. “We started with some podcasts and… photo essays, and this year, we’re trying to build up to video interviews and a lot more audio/video stuff,” Mr. Lojko explains.

These changes in the ways The Chieftain operates and produces material come as a response to changes in media and how students are consuming it. “I think when a lot of students consume media in the real world, they’re not just reading articles,” Mr. Lojko says. “It’s much more interactive, so we’re trying to make that transition.”

One key way The Chieftain has expanded its digital presence is by establishing a presence on social media in order to reach more Piscataway High School students.

“We created [an Instagram] account,” Kayla Gonzales, The Chieftain’s editor-in-chief, says. “On Instagram, we’ve been creating posts and posting… stories. We’ve been trying to generate more followers from there.”

Despite The Chieftain focusing on producing content in non-written forms of media, digitally written articles will still make up the majority of the newspaper’s content.

“Regular articles [are]… going [to be] the bread and butter… the core of the newspaper. We’re really looking at taking it to the next level and building on that,” Mr. Lojko elaborates.

Editor’s note: since this story was written, the Chieftain offers a new way to read student articles: the “Student News Source” app, which can be downloaded for free for Android and iOS.  This app offers push notifications every time a new article is published, and makes it easy to leave comments on the stories.  Get it now!