Sentinel editor got start as War Whoop staffer

A 75th Anniversary Special

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  For 75 years, the War Whoop has kept students up to date on various school happenings. 

  One reason for this long-term success is the tradition of hard working editors like Dustin Wright, who will leave his job as editor of the Seminole Sentinel this month to take a job with the county.

  Wright was on the War Whoop staff for two years, claiming the title of editor-in-chief his senior year. He originally took journalism thinking it would be a blow-off class.

  “When I signed up for that class, to be honest, I was thinking of it as an easy period,” Wright said. “I thought it was going to be a class where I could just kind of blow it off and waste time in school. Then I got into it, and I really started liking it. It’s turned into something that I have really loved.”

  Wright said that while none of the stories he covered really stick out in his mind, the feeling of having a finished product is something he remembers today.

  “We covered sporting events, and we covered trends at the time,” Wright said. “There wasn’t really anything that stood out. I just remember being so satisfied with putting a paper together as a group and the excitement we all had from starting the process by writing to taking it to Lamesa to actually have it come off the press in print. That, to me, stood out more than any story that we did.”

  Due to the advent of the Internet, a lot of the mechanics involved in making a paper have changed. The process is much simpler than it used to be.

  “Not just the War Whoop but newspaper in general has changed a lot,” Wright said. “When I started, we would type our stories in Adobe Pagemaker, which I’m sure is still in use today. We would print it out and then take layout sheets, cut the story, and lay it out with waxed paper and literally build the paper that way. We did that with the first couple of print newspapers that I remember.”

 The last semester of his senior year, the staff started the process in pagination on computer. 

   “We did everything–the layout, the design–everything on computer,” Wright said. “At that time, that was unheard of. In 2002, the Sentinel started doing pagination. So the War Whoop was doing it on computer before the Seminole Sentinel was by about six months. The Internet has changed newspaper altogether.”

  Even with the leaps in technology, the fundamental pieces of any newspaper have stayed the same. One such piece is the staff.

  “We [2000-01 War Whoop staffs} were very close-knit,” Wright said. “We were all great friends, and we still are great friends. We don’t get to see each other quite as often as we would like, but it’s fun to look back on things and remember the good memories. We spent a lot of hours in class and after school, too, working on stories. Of course, we would cut up and have fun and do things that teenagers do, but we were very close knit. It was a fun, fun group to work with. No one ever felt like they were above anyone, regardless of the title or role that they had. Everyone chipped in to do their part and made it special. It was a special group.”

  Wright said that the life lessons never end in journalism.

  “You learn lessons every day in this job,” Wright said. “You learn time management, and how to listen. Not just hearing, but actually listening, paying attention to detail. There are so many things that you can learn through this profession.”

  Wright said journalists must grow up quickly.

  “You have to take raw information and turn it into something that people can read and understand, so that they can relate it to their own lives,” Wright said. “It’s kind of hard to point out just one life lesson that you learn. You learn a lot through journalism.”