High school journalism plays a pivotal role in nurturing curious and creative young minds, those that will one day keep the world informed and engaged, and maybe have a crack at that notorious first draft of history.

Last month, Baruch College hosted The Newsies—a competition organized and run by Prof. Geanne Belton recognizing excellence in public high school journalism across New York City. It honored winners from 11 different high school newspapers across the five boroughs, selected by a panel of distinguished journalists and educators. One of those educators was Christian Lewis, Baruch ’21, who now serves as a teacher at Bay Ridge High School.

Before taking up teaching, Lewis was a journalism major who picked up the bug during his own stint at a high school newspaper. Now, three years on from his own graduation, he’s doing his part to inspire the writers of the future, restarting a newspaper in his own high school at Bay Ridge, Brooklyn — a passion project that is showing some serious promise.

“When I first started teaching, it was at the high school that I went to. When I was a student there, we had a newspaper. When I came back to teach, it was gone. So I started pushing to start one back up, and we eventually got it off the ground this year. This is a full circle moment for me – and I’m hoping it will do for my students, what it did for me.”

The second incarnation of the Bay Ridge High School newspaper will launch its first online publication in June. And, if things go to plan, a printed version will be published every six weeks or so. It’s a lot of pressure, on both the educators and the budding young journalists. But Lewis believes in the cause, and of the many transferable skills journalism provides.

“My pitch to everyone is: even if you don’t want to be a journalist, you can still learn something from journalism. Whether it’s how to approach and talk to people, how to take photos, how to edit or how to write. In journalism, there’s a useful tool for everybody.”

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