The Foothill Dragon Press is an online-only publication serving the students, parents, staff and community of Foothill Technology High School in Ventura, CA. The publication was founded in 2009 as an open public forum for news and student expression. A student editorial board makes final decisions in terms of content.
Students in journalism class report and write news and editorial stories, shoot and edit photos and video, work with social networking tools, and learn Click to read the Dragon Press the principles of professional journalism. The class also recruits select students who wish to focus on illustration, graphics and photography or multimedia.
Journalism I and Journalism II are elective courses that meet UC requirements and are considered favorably by universities for their ability to produce strong writers, thinkers and leaders. Journalism III and IV may be taken with instructor’s approval and include independent study and projects for highly motivated students. All four levels operate during the same class period, so students new to the program are mentored and trained by those with experience. The year-long course currently is repeatable for high school credit up to four times.
Students must earn a B or an A in English class the year prior to entering journalism and must apply to join the class through written application and interviews with student editors.
Last year, the Dragon Press was visited 54,000 times by viewers in 139 countries, with more than 230,000 page views.
Students who work on the Dragon Press staff gain an appreciation for accuracy, objectivity, fairness and accountability. They get opportunities to practice courage, initiative, resourcefulness, integrity, cooperation, competitive spirit, loyalty… all in the service of a great American tradition: a free press.
Those journalists who continue with the Dragon Press after their first year may also choose to gain leadership experience on the 12-student Editorial Review Board. The Editorial Review Board meets weekly after school to plan coverage, identify opportunities, trouble-shoot problems and improve the day-to-day operations of the program.
Students wishing to attend journalism conferences can join Quill & Scroll, an international high school journalism honor society that meets as a club on the Foothill campus.
Over the past four years, the Dragon Press staff has worked to consistently improve the publication. They have been honored at the highest national and regional levels with:
The Gold Crown Award in 2102, 2013, 2015 from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in New York City. This is CSPA’s top award given to student publications.
13 Gold Circles for Individual Achievement from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in February 2014.
The Online Pacemaker in April 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 from the National Scholastic Press Association. This is the most competitive and highest honor awarded to a high school publication in the United States.
All-American designation in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 from the National Scholastic Press Association. With five marks of distinction, the highest achievement.
Best High School News Website in Ventura County in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 from the Ventura County Star.
Best High School News Website in the Tri-counties in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 from the Tri-County Journalism Education Association.