Former editor remembers as online newspaper turns nine

A 75th Anniversary Special

Former+editor+goes+into+journalism--%0A2009-2010+War+Whoop+editor+Stephanie+Ross+took+her+journalism+experience+into+college+and+beyond+after+starting+the+online+newspaper+in+2009.+She+currently+is+employed+as+a+public+relations+specialist+with+a+firm+in+Boston.+
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Former editor remembers as online newspaper turns nine

Former editor goes into journalism--
2009-2010 War Whoop editor Stephanie Ross took her journalism experience into college and beyond after starting the online newspaper in 2009. She currently is employed as a public relations specialist with a firm in Boston.

Former editor goes into journalism-- 2009-2010 War Whoop editor Stephanie Ross took her journalism experience into college and beyond after starting the online newspaper in 2009. She currently is employed as a public relations specialist with a firm in Boston.

Former editor goes into journalism-- 2009-2010 War Whoop editor Stephanie Ross took her journalism experience into college and beyond after starting the online newspaper in 2009. She currently is employed as a public relations specialist with a firm in Boston.

Former editor goes into journalism-- 2009-2010 War Whoop editor Stephanie Ross took her journalism experience into college and beyond after starting the online newspaper in 2009. She currently is employed as a public relations specialist with a firm in Boston.

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 In spring 2009, all it took was one ILPC (Interscholastic League Press Conference) session for then junior Stephanie Ross to bring the online newspaper to life.

  She and adviser Susan Williamson had been playing with the idea of taking the War Whoop online, but after talking to then Big Spring advisor Leland Mallet, they saw the possibility as a more real one.

  “We learned about the trends, story ideas, designs and more,” Ross said. “One of those trends was how many papers were starting to go online, especially at that time.”

  Stephanie had worked with WordPress to develop her own personal blog in high school already, so she had the technical knowledge to take the lead on the digital side of the paper.

  “Granted, I wasn’t that great at it looking back now,” Ross said, “but I did have a basic understanding of how to operate the CMS (Content Management System).”

  Stephanie spent an entire summer planning out a paper, getting approvals, establishing the domain name and multiple other jobs to make her work public. Along the way, she worked with several new elements.

  “It was my first time at that level of freedom and management,” Ross said about becoming the editor of the online newspaper. “Taking charge of the online newspaper gave me a taste of what to expect in college and beyond–the freedom to fail, the ability to go with the flow and experiment in real-time and create my own expectations for the first time.”

  Despite Stephanie’s confidence, she was concerned after publishing her first physical print War Whoop.

  “I remember being nervous after putting out our first issue, but all of my friends and nearly every student had a paper in-hand in between classes,” Ross said. “Later that year, we also knew we were onto something when we were awarded a Bronze Star our inaugural year. I definitely count those as metrics of success.”

  As a journalist and fan of spreading words across a page, it’s no shocker that journalism had an impact on Stephanie’s life.

  “I’ve always had an affinity for writing and storytelling, so I made a conscious effort to choose electives that honed those skills,” Ross said. “Working in journalism allowed me to learn skills that put me ahead of my peers in college and after college.”

  Stephanie’s career choices were also affected by the subject.

  “Once I started looking at career options, I wanted to use my skills as a journalist in a strategic way, which is why I majored in public relations and now work at an integrated marketing communications agency,” Ross said. “My career has all of the elements I love: writing, creativity, design, technology, etc. Plus, I continue to learn every day.”

 Stephanie, who works for a firm in Boston, credits her high school success to great staff members and a teacher at Seminole High School who allowed her true colors to shine.

  “Ms. Williamson was the one faculty member that I could go to at any given moment with a problem or when I needed advice,” Ross said. “Looking back, I remember thinking how tough she was on us–with her grading and editing–and now that I’m at the management level, I’m incredibly grateful for that.”

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