A Letter from the Editor: Behind the Scenes


Grace Kusek

The newsroom isn’t always perfect!

In case you did not know, resurrecting a school paper after ten-plus years is demanding work. Thanks to our amazing teacher sponsor, Mrs. Flanigan, we made it happen. It was Mrs. Flanigan and I’s ambition to bring this medium to the forefront and provide the St. Petersburg High School community with an opportunity to share their thoughts, writing, and news. Once given the go-ahead, that’s when things started to get real. It was no longer an idea, but something we had to put into action. And let me tell you, there was a lot of student interest. With an expansive staff covering 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, the Palmetto & Pine boasts an impressive lineup of up-and-coming writers, activists, and storytellers. The staff of the Palmetto & Pine shares a love for journalism and media, and we pride ourselves on holding the paper to its highest standards.


Early on in September, Mrs. Flanigan and I embarked into the possibilities of electronic and print publishing to make it possible for everyone’s voice to be heard. With no money to start with, we would not only have to find a way to cover the startup costs but also the costs to continue the production of the paper for future years. My ambition to print stopped short when we began discussing costs with various publishers. The staff agreed to hold off on printing for now and focus on electronic publication for our first year back. This year we agreed to strive to make the paper as accessible as possible for all SPHS students and faculty, but to do so, one must first make the walk towards commitment.


The Palmetto & Pine applied for a $500 grant initiative through the Pinellas Education Foundation and Raymond James, hoping to use the money to pay for the web domain. In the meantime, Arts & Entertainment Editor, Ava Daly, and I met with and spoke to the SPHS Student Government to ask for additional funding for our startup. Thanks to student president, Travis Brackin, the Palmetto & Pine was granted the additional funds needed by Student Government and SAC. Additionally, we were awarded the grant from the Pinellas Education Foundation later on. With money to spend, Mrs. Flanigan and I officially signed off on the website purchase. The Palmetto & Pine was ready for action.


With a newly elected staff, our wonderful team of section editors began brainstorming ideas for our first edition. Would we have live sports updates? What kind of local news should we cover? What about an advice column? All these questions and more were taken into consideration while crafting the first edition of the Palmetto & Pine.

With a portion of the staff creating story content for the paper, the others helped with administrative and web design work. Web Editor, Jocelyn J., assisted the staff with learning how to navigate and use our new website. Olivia W., business manager, began working to create advertisements for local businesses to purchase in the paper. The art & design team worked on graphics and curating a collection of photographs fit for our paper.


In the final days before our first publication, the energy in the room was buzzing. The staff was excited to finally share our work with friends, teachers, classmates, and we had anticipated this day for months. In the first 3 days following the December publication, the Palmetto & Pine website received over 2,200 views with more than six hundred new users!


As we release our second edition of the Palmetto & Pine, I continue to express gratitude and excitement shared by the staff for our readers and supporters. We look forward to crafting more stories and ideas to share with the St. Petersburg High School community, and we are hopeful for another semester of exceptional journalism and engagement.

Remember, those who speak are heard, but those who write affect change. The Palmetto & Pine is always open to students and staff to share their voices and submit work. To submit articles or suggest topics, please DM our Instagram page @sphs_journalism or email the Editor-in-Chief at [email protected]

-Grace Kusek