TNS, and My Endeavor Into It

Courtesy of TNS

My name is Dylan Santoyo. As of December 3, 2022, I have been employed for The News School (TNS) for 152 days, or about 5 months. TNS provides print and online news delivered through the voices of trained citizen journalists living in the communities they serve, TNS primarily aims to serve black and brown communities. TNS’ goal is to motivate readers with stories that can improve both their lives and the lives of people around them.

Starting Out

As far back as I can recall, my first day was pretty exhilarating thanks to our wonderful employer, DiMarcko Stephen Chandler. In addition to himself, he introduced me to Daylontie Jasper, Semetrius Holmes, and Chiagozie Onyewuchi. Soon after, DiMarcko gave us a pencil and a piece of paper and instructed us to write down which of the three programs — journalism, media broadcasting, or social media — we wanted to be in. Given my passion for writing, I used a pencil and chose journalism. Which was undoubtedly one of the best choices I’ve ever made. After we chose, DiMarcko, an expert in journalism, provided us with a wealth of information. The phrase “we serve the community” from DiMarcko, has always remained in my head because ultimately that is what everyone should do for their community.

Courtesy of The News School

Sheena Robertson

After a few days, Sheena Robertson, the most helpful person I’ve ever met, was introduced to us. She taught us a ton of useful skills, including how to add photographs, appropriately cite sources, format an article, and much, much more. Sheena was willing to help every participant in the program and still is, answering every question I have. She is one of the primary editors of TNS, which is another important fact to note, and an extremely hard worker.

It Was Rough

To put things into perspective, it took me 2 weeks exactly to get my first article published.

For the first couple of weeks, I struggled because I was at a loss for what to do. DiMarcko noticed this and acted like “Master Splinter” from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” guiding my path to finally, as previously indicated, get published on TNS. In my opinion, this shows that TNS did not give up on me. Soon after, things were a little bumpy; getting published was hit-or-miss. Occasionally, I’d get posted, and sometimes I wouldn’t. Eventually, Sheena tightened up my screws and helped me reach my current level of proficiency.

TNS’ Civic Engagement

Civic engagement is generally defined as individual or group activity addressing matters of public concern, often referred to as civic involvement or civic participation. Civic involvement entails groups of people coming together or working independently to advance political or non-political goals. Such as preserving public ideals or bringing about change in a neighborhood.
We engaged in civic involvement significantly at TNS, and I can think of two noteworthy occurrences that I find to be especially remarkable.
One of these was The West Side Youth Empowerment Forum held at St. Agatha on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2022. The event was free to attend, and refreshments and food were available for all to enjoy. Education, mental health, housing, economics/entrepreneurship, and the scarcity of food supplies were all discussed at the event. These key subjects were the most frequently requested topics, particularly in the North Lawndale neighborhood.
Early voting was a lesser or possibly equally significant event. At St. Agatha, the church TNS operates out of, DiMarcko had us participate in interviews with locals who had voted early. It was a really enjoyable experience and a chance to hear about what the folks of North Lawndale desired. Overall, it was a lot of fun.

Final Words

I’ll leave you with this, TNS is a fantastic first job or job in general. You should take advantage of the chance to write for the journalism team or work on the social media team. For those who’d rather be in front of or behind the camera, broadcasting is for you. I made the decision to join the journalism team, and I couldn’t be much happier.

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of The News School

Inset Image Courtesy of The News School

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