Two Big Weeks Converge for One Student Writer

Scholastic Journalism Week and FFA Week Converge for One Student Writer
Posted on 02/23/2024
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One Westview High School student is standing at the intersection of two big events this week - National Scholastic Journalism Week and National Future Farmers of America [FFA] Week. Junior Kaitlyn Brundige’s path as a writer and FFA member highlights the importance of supporting student voices in local journalism.

Brundige has always had a passion for writing. She said she wasn’t afraid to walk in the door and ask for work as a writer in the office of a local news source, The Weakley County Press.

“I walked in and asked if there was any writing work available. Turns out that they are always looking for student writers, so I turned in my resume and got started on some stories,” Brundige said.

Employed as a freelance writer at the Press, Brundige has covered several community events over the winter season, including a "Science Saturdays" event at Suzanne’s Pharmacy and the Martin Senior Center’s Christmas Craft Bazaar. As a full-time student with academic and extracurricular obligations, she is usually assigned only one story each week. For the past couple of weeks, she’s been leading the charge on a very special section all about FFA. Featuring local and national coverage of the week, the section was published as a special insert to accompany the Feb. 20 edition.

Weakley County Press Managing Editor Josh Lemons said he was impressed with Brundige’s work on the FFA section.

“We’re really proud of her work,” Lemons said. “Not only did she write content for the section, but she also did the research and compiled the information for the section. Her prior knowledge about FFA was a great advantage, and we think the section turned out great.”

When the paper came out this week, fellow Westview FFA Member and friend Abby Collie stopped by the Press office with Brundige to take a look at the FFA special section. She said she was proud to see that Brundige’s hard work paid off.

“It was interesting to watch Kaitlyn gather information for the section,” Collie said. “We were inspired to see the finished product and it is clear how hard she worked on it. She’s a wonderful ambassador for our FFA club – and she’s also a great writer.”

Collie and Brundige reading the Weakley County Press FFA section

With foundational guidance from English teacher Amy Brown, and mentorship from Westview High's FFA Advisors, Kyle and Marilauren Rogers, Brundige has an academic circle of support that has helped her develop her skills to showcase her talents. She also has access to support from the team of writers at the Weakley County Press.


“Having educated and experienced writers available who care has been very helpful for me,” said Brundige.

Student journalists learn a range of skills including how to perform research, effective interviewing techniques, critical thinking, editing, time management, productive collaboration, and much more. Brundige said that one of the most important skills that she’s developing is understanding and adhering to ethical standards in journalism including accuracy, fairness, and integrity, emphasizing the significance of ethics in maintaining credibility and trust with sources and readers.

“Journalists have a responsibility to have integrity in reporting. As a student, I have a lot of questions and ask for a lot of guidance,” she said.  “Through experience, I’ve learned that it’s imperative that sources and quotes are properly cited and that we tell the truth. You can’t write a story for your own benefit. When you write for your own benefit, you remove the integrity of the story.”

Lemons thinks that curiosity is a sign of a great journalist, and Brundige certainly has that quality.

“Being curious is key in this business,” Lemons said. “But with that curiosity comes a responsibility to tell the story objectionably, without bias. Kaitlyn already understands that, and she takes the responsibility seriously. She has a great instinct, curiosity, and a firm grasp of the ethical responsibilities associated with this career path. All of us here are really looking forward to keeping up with her career and future in journalism.”

Reading the paper

Brundige’s portfolio of stories continues to build as she works toward graduation in 2025. Her sites are set on the college path with plans to major in agriculture communications. Her dream is to join the communications team for Tennessee Farm Bureau.

“My family is very involved with our local Farm Bureau, and we care deeply about the organization’s mission of being the voice for the 2% - our world’s farmers,” said Brundige. “There is a lot about farming that many people don’t know, and I want to help share the message.”

At the crossroads of Scholastic Journalism Week and FFA Week, Brundige's journey highlights the importance of uplifting student voices and the profound impact of partnerships in shaping the future of journalism, with this week showcasing its importance to the field of agriculture.

Scholastic Journalism Week serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about the significance of student journalism and to encourage students to pursue careers in media and journalism.

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