Wrangler Spotlight: The Haystack

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Ameerah Hirji and Hunaina Hirji

Hunaina and Ameerah have worked hard on the podcast and are excited for people to listen.

Suhani Bhanvadia, Editor-in-Chief

“From Yorba Linda High School’s The Wrangler, I’m Hunaina Hirji (10) and I’m Ameerah Hirji (12). And this is The Haystack.” One of the projects that The Wrangler is most excited to launch this year is our podcast! For the first time on the newspaper staff, The Wrangler has two designated podcast hosts who plan, record, edit, upload, and promote The Haystack. Hunaina and Ameerah have both been working on the podcast throughout the summer and have finally released their first episode.

One of their biggest goals for the podcast is to connect with the student body: Ameerah adds “with so many events going on (both at school and in the world), we want to be able to talk to all of the students directly and create a podcast that will allow them to learn more while enjoying the conversation.” Speaking of events happening in school, one of the main focuses of the podcast is interviews with the student body, staff, and even community members. In their first episode, they interviewed the activities director, Mrs. Kadhom, about welcome back week, what she’s excited for, and more.

One of the first things you’ll notice when listening to The Haystack is that the girls are sisters. Anyone with siblings may be thinking that it must be difficult to work so closely with someone you already have to see every day. But Hunaina and Ameerah claim that it actually makes it easier. Hunaina describes it saying “It is a position with a lot of flexibility. We have the opportunity to work more closely together than with anyone else and plan based on our joint schedules. It’s rather simple to talk together since we’re already familiar with each other’s energy.”

The Haystack was a huge undertaking, which is why we wanted to designate the hosts’ job to exclusively the podcast. Behind the scenes, or in this case, behind the audio, Hunaina has had her hands full with editing. She mentions the time commitment that it takes as “one episode could easily take 12-15 hours to edit because of audio mixing, background noise reduction, SFX, transitions, as well as other parts.” She not only had to learn how to use the program but also the technicalities like microphone inputs, RSS feeds, and changing tracks. “Initially, it was challenging, but that’s what I’m here for!”

It’s been very rewarding, and I’m very grateful that I decided to join.”

— Ameerah Hirji

Some may be surprised that this year is the sisters’ first year on The Wrangler’s staff. Despite being new to the world of journalism, they were able to create something new and branch off of The Wrangler’s routine of weekly articles. Ameerah adds “Starting the podcast from scratch allowed us to bring in all our ideas and create something very unique and special. From interviewing the community to navigating streaming services to getting feedback on the first episode, it’s been very rewarding, and I’m very grateful that I decided to join.” 

Personally, I was very excited to hear the feedback from the podcast. I knew they had spent a significant amount of time on it and our audience would love it, but the support we got back from the school was gratifying and I was proud that so many people listened to it. Check out their first episode, “Get Connected”, and make sure to follow them on Spotify to keep up with all of their new episodes!