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Education Desk: ‘Florida Student Journalist Of The Year’ Juggles School, Journalism And Health Issues


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Jack Rummler is Florida's 2018 Student Journalist of the Year.

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An Orlando student was just named Florida Student Journalist of the Year. Florida Scholastic Press Association picked Jack Rummler based on his reporting portfolio. Rummler is a senior at Boone High School. He spoke to 90.7’s Crystal Chavez.

Rummler is editor in chief of his school’s newspaper, a hybrid publication with a newspaper and website. Check out his work here.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Chavez: Tell me about one of your favorite stories?

Rummler: One of the stories that I think really represented me well in my portfolio was one I actually wrote my sophomore year. It was my first year on staff, and I was really still trying to figure out how things were working, but I was tasked with one of the bigger stories of the year. It was about how Orange County Public Schools was making a transition into web curriculum. Every student was going to be supplied with a laptop the following year and it was talking about the advantages to learning through technology rather than, you know, traditional pen and paper.

That was a really big story for me because it was so long and I had to get so many different interviews, and talk to so many different people, and make it all packaged together to show why this is going to be such a benefit to students. That was one of the big stories that really got me interested in continuing journalism because I think that it was something that my advisor trusted me to do. I think her confidence in me was what pushed me to keep going and always challenged me to do different stories.

Chavez: Your teacher mentioned that you overcame a lot of challenges. She said you have some kind of health condition that you’re dealing with?

Rummler: I have spina bifida. Pretty much like the extent of spina bifida, it does affect me physically and internally. It pretty much is a disability that affects your nervous system, but it has also affected some of my other organs and my legs. Overall, I think, you know, in any event in my life, or any activity I’ve participated in, it’s definitely a challenge compared to my friends who are you know, able-bodied. I have to push a little harder for me to be on the same level. In terms of newspaper, how that’s impacted me is like, there were times where I had deadlines where you really had to stay on top of your stuff and also, I had to go in for a surgery.

I’ve had to have surgery on my knee; I had prostate stones that had to be removed. I’ve had various obstacles and sicknesses as a result of my disability that I had to overcome and then on top of that, I had a newspaper deadline and obviously all my other school subjects. That was one of my biggest struggles: was to always manage staying on top of my deadlines and stuff but also trying to stay healthy because it was a struggle compared to everyone else.

Chavez: Your teacher said that you don’t shy away from stories that may be physically challenging for you.

Rummler: Yeah, I do my best to know my limits but also try and push myself, too. There’s times where you have to be like a professional and run around campus to get like certain shots or videos and there’s a lot of tasks that are not like physically demanding but you know, it is something that’s harder for me in comparison to other students but I don’t want my disability to define me and, you know, I’ve done my best to never let it. I think I never try and shy away from it because that’s just not in my nature to do so because I don’t want sympathy, like pity for you know ‘oh I can’t do this,’ like I’ll make it work for myself.


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About Crystal Chavez

Crystal Chavez

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