Following weeks of constant interviewing, scouring the internet for design inspiration and hours spent after school staring at screens in a lab, comes the most exciting day for nearly all Crier staffers: distribution day. Handing out the papers to fleeting students represents hard work coming to life, and despite some rude comments or crumpled up issues, the feeling of being asked for a paper makes it all worth it as we remember our purpose: to highlight student voices. We have always been a student-led press, with our main goal being not only to represent the student body, but to advocate on their behalf.
Through all of the hard work that we put into our paper, each staff member is motivated by the student body. One of the key ways we advocate on their behalf is through our ability to decide our own content—oftentimes we are told, “How do you decide your content?” or “You should publish this in Crier.” Students on staff decide what is published, how it is published and when it is published. We are not censored by administration, and although we have an advisor, she does not regulate our content either.As we consider what content is timely, local, interesting and important, we also need to consider our main goal: to highlight voices and concerns in our community, but to also create a free press in which both students and teachers can stay informed. As MHS changes through culture and communities, both students and teachers will have questions and opinions—it is Crier’s job to answer them. Part of deciding content involves balancing free speech with ethics—before being on staff, students are taught about the difference between law and ethics in Journalism 1.
Representing MHS is a daunting task, and we strive to produce coverage that is objective and fair. While we greatly value student opinion, there is also a level of credibility needed when it comes to or not that is ethical—is there a clear cut reason for publishing controversial content, other than for the sake of being a newspaper?Reflecting on our purpose is important for any publications staff—as we continue to cover content that is controversial or ambiguous in nature, we need to communicate to students what our goal is. Every staff member has the goal of publishing content that is accurate and fair, and as we move forward into the school year, we’d like to discuss why Crier is important—both to our staff and to our readers.