By ATHENA FOSLER-BRAZIL
When I signed up for Mike Palshaw’s Newspaper class as a sophomore at Carmel High, I had no idea what I was stepping into. Journalism, to me, was something abstract. I grew up watching my dad read the paper, but never really read it voraciously myself. I listened to NPR on the drive to school, but never really thought about what journalism was. What it is. The Sandpiper showed me just how important journalists really are.
Palshaw taught me about Associated Press style (something I still haven’t perfected), he taught me about news writing, he taught me how to conduct interviews and how to pursue a story even when it gets difficult and annoying, which it usually does. More importantly, though, writing for the Sandpiper showed me that journalists are in a uniquely powerful position.
Today, the press is often called the bad guy. Journalism has been thrown into constant question under our current administration, and I am disheartened not only by how distrusting we have become of journalism but by the fact that we have been given reason to be. “Fake news” exists. The onus of responsibility falls on the consumer to fact check their news sources in an age where anyone can write anything and call it truth. I understand this to be the reality, and I take this seriously. But all news is not fake news, and that is what I want readers to remember.
Journalists fill a key role in our society. They communicate the things people should know, they hold our institutions accountable, and they provide access to the information that we need in order to be informed citizens and voters. Readers should be wary of disreputable sources, but they should not forget the invaluable role the press plays in the functioning of a democracy. Freedom of the press is articulated in the First Amendment for a reason. Journalists help preserve the freedoms we so value, connecting people to their communities, government and each other.
Writing for a high school paper is, of course, different form reporting for the New York Times. But the foundations are still there. We strive to report the truth and cover the issues that we think need to be covered in our community. Palshaw and his rotating staff of writers hold themselves to a high standard and aim only to increase community awareness and involvement. We take our jobs as writers and reporters seriously, and I hope our readers do the same.
I love writing, I love conducting interviews, but more than anything I love seeing the work we do as a paper make a real difference in the community. When readers trust and listen to journalists, positive change occurs. I have always felt that Carmel Unified School District has been supportive of the work we do at the Sandpiper, and I am thankful for that. I implore our readers to keep reading and students to keep signing up for Newspaper. We are doing something important.