From the Editors: The role of a student newspaper

HTML tutorial

One of our hopes as editors of a student newspaper is that our content, while being widely received, also enables readers to express informed opinions, whether they involve the politics of our school’s administrative decisions or the shared experiences of the student body.

The phrase “an open forum for the expression of student views” appears in every issue of The Classic (look at the blurb on the top right portion of this page). While many may ignore this as a standard disclaimer, it is essential to ensuring that the students of THHS can legally express them- selves outside of the rules that lead to the cen- sorship of other student papers. Being an “open forum” is, unfortunately, not a right available to all student journalists, and it’s important that we rec- ognize what it means for us to have such a forum.

For example, this phrase holds more meaning when someone is compelled enough to write us a thought-out letter to the editor. More so than last year, or even the year before, people have been sending us letters (or posting comments online) and continuing the discussion beyond what our articles initiate. We inevitably don’t agree with every response we receive, but we appreciate the response regardless and publish as many as possible.

As we progress through the new year, we encourage anyone and everyone to send in letters. It is up to readers to challenge the views we pub- lish and help contribute to a more well-rounded understanding of an issue.

While it is encouraging that students and teachers feel strongly about the opinions and news stories we publish, we get the sense that many at this school believe that providing an opinion on an important issue is the same as acting on it.

Some of the views that people have shared with us—be it on the bell schedule, or the dress code, or last year’s regents grading fiasco—have been quite passionate. The passion, however, always dies away too quickly. We remember one former editor’s piece calling for the student body to work against the mandate requiring all juniors to take AP U.S. History. So many seemed in agreement with the editorial; so few seemed willing to act.

This school needs to create a better apparatus for effecting change. Can we expect the SU Board to be solely responsible for achieving everything the student body desires? The truth is that they can’t get real change unless they have a student body willing to stir the waters. Are we that stu- dent body? Can we ever be? A newspaper can cre- ate a conversation, and we can do our best at that, but we must learn how to move from just venting about the way things are, to making things the way we want them to be.