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Lafayette High School student journalists work to uncover the truth during a pandemic

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Posted at 4:16 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 19:43:52-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — All this week, LEX 18 has been bringing you information and stories about National News Literacy Week.

As we wrap things up, we're bringing you a story about high school journalists in Lexington and their efforts to uncover the truth in their reporting.

A worldwide pandemic only complicates those efforts, but the students and teachers working on Lafayette High School's newspaper think their work is as important now as ever.

The "Lafayette Times" has printed headlines meaningful to the high school community it serves. Still, there was a lull for some time until journalism teacher Sheri McPherson pushed to get it going again four years ago, this time around solely as an online publication.

"So I kept kind of bringing it up, 'we need to have a student newspaper,' and it was just, for me, another avenue for the students to have a voice, and to have a say, it what's going on in their community," said McPherson.

Co-Editor-in-Chiefs Zaida Bell-Frontz and Emma Taylor have had their work cut out for them over the past year.

"There were some challenges because of COVID," said Bell-Frontz. "As soon as we hit COVID and we had to close the school, we had kind of just hit our stride. We had just gotten the hang of it."

Instead of the classroom for collaboration, they discussed story ideas and went over assignments on Zoom calls. Trying to get stories published each week was a challenge.

"I think I just miss seeing everyone because it's so much easier and so much more fun to have everyone right in front of you," said Taylor.

"I do think it's taught us a lot, about how to communicate, about how to effectively reach out to someone without seeming condescending," said Bell-Frontz.

Becoming leaders in the classroom and embracing journalism as a tool to connect.

And they recognize that right now, seemingly more than ever, getting it right is crucial.

"It was a huge responsibility, and I'm really happy that we have it," said Taylor.