ALTON - For years the Redbird Word was led by Annice Brave who was well recognized in the community for contributions to the journalism program at Alton High.

This year, Jordan Graham, a former student of Brave, will be leading the class.

"I'm just delighted that a former Redbird Word staffer is going to be advising the paper," Brave said. "Jordan has lots of great ideas about how he wants to handle his staff and tackle the really important job of teaching journalism right now. With all the political events that are going on it's not going to be an easy job by any means but I think that he's really up to the task."

Brave and Graham worked next door to each other all last year and this year they'll still be in close proximity as Graham works to bring the journalism program back to the level that it once was.

One of the things that the program hasn't had since Brave led the class is the option of dual credits with Lewis and Clark Community College. That's one thing Graham plans to bringing back to the program as soon as possible.

"The class used to be a dual credit course," Graham said. "Where you got college credit at Lewis and Clark. But Lewis and Clark changed their requirements. It used to just be if you had a masters degree you could teach dual credit. Now you have to have at least 18 hours in that field of graduate level classes. I have 12. So I don't have enough to have dual credit myself. That is a goal for me currently to get it back to dual credit by next school year."

Brave said that it's exciting to see a teacher as enthusiastic as Graham take over the program and bring new and fresh ideas into the classroom.

A new component that Graham said he'll be introducing to the class will be the digital and social media aspect of reporting.

"That would be something that would be entirely new," Graham said. "When I took journalism in high school that wasn't a thing. We didn't really have a digital component. I still will have a print copy. I think it's very important to have a physical copy of the paper. But we are taking it into the digital age and they're going to have a website component that the students will run."

Although Graham will be leading the class the purpose of the program is still to produce a student newspaper, and that aspect of the class won't change.

"I'm there to help him anyway I can," Brave said. "He's a sharp young man, so I know that he's going to have the energy to perk up that program again."

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