“You’re going to read that?”
A teen boy, complete with Comet hoodie and clunky neon sneakers, scoffs at another–the one with a newspaper in his hand. The cover is a hand on a door handle, titled “Choosing sides.” It’s the Friday after administration suspended countless of his peers for drinking, and the paper is fresh enough to leave ink on his fingertips.
“I want to read about parties.”
The first boy shrugged; parties were acceptable, even if newspapers were not. And I saw that second boy again later, after the bell had rang, and classes had morphed, reading not just the cover story–a two-piece spread, featuring students who had abused drugs and those who had never been tempted–but the paper in its entirety.
He wanted to read The Chronicle, actually read it, in a day and age where binge-watching Netflix from a tablet is replacing Magic Tree House novels beginning at age six. We now cultivate “news” via Twitter notifications, though we only bother to read them if they’re from the superintendent, and we’ve been praying for a snow day. When we skim our newsfeed, we think we know those we follow through their “YASSSSS Starbucks ❤ <3” statuses and “Ugh can I just like sleep for two more hours” moans. We all love a mocha frappuccino, and we’ve all been tired, but in a school of nearly 4,000, we are often numbered–we are the 67th Twitter follower, the 3.6792 GPA, the 407th member of the Class of 2017.
I believe that’s why our student body has maintained an interest in print journalism, even in this digital age. We can hold The Chronicle in our hands and read about the decisions our peers have made–to start a Rubik’s Cube club or accept LSD at a party–and we feel closer than before. Because we relate, in some obscure way, to the teen experience of high school, in all its delights and horrors.
Our students’ eyes light when we bring the paper to their first bell or they scramble for a leftover copy as the second begins, and they read. Their interest fuels our desire for a better product: we watch the reader evolve, and we mold the paper until students have no choice but to read it. And our business managers, Emily Culberson and Ashton Nichols, are the ones to thank. Not all school newspapers can support themselves, but their ad sales to local businesses have created a self-sufficient publication that can afford to fight for that in which it believes. Our editors convinced administration to allow for publication of that same cover story and invest in us as writers, and “the Stich” is responsible for the paper’s visual appeal; without her, the paper wouldn’t stand a chance.
“The hierarchy of the newspaper — when somebody takes six of those stories and puts them on the front, illustrates them, plays them over section fronts — that architecture for me in a digital age is important. I view it as a daily magazine, a prism on what took place yesterday, and I miss it. We live in an age where there is a firehose of information and there is no hierarchy of what is important and what is not.” ~New York Times Media Columnist David Carr
And our writers, our “student” journalists, carry out interviews and work on deadline, preparing for a future career path or the demands of upcoming responsibility. We volunteer ourselves for online coverage, so the student body can see the ins and outs of the school they attend. It could not be more fitting that Mr. Allen tells us to “Have a good day here in Comet Country” every morning on the announcements. This is a country. This a school of 4,000. This is a set of students with a need for news concerning the world in which they live–the building in which they spend 50 hours a week once you add in sports practices and after school activities. For these four years before we diverge, we are as close knit as we can be without being able to name one another.
We share the same pride in all of our organizations, and we turn to journalism–print, online, or broadcast–to realize it. We will endure until our hands are ink-stained, and our eyes are glazed with computer film–but we could not do it without MHS.