Laura Ingalls Wilder once said, “It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” My almost full year on the Chronicle staff has changed this belief in me. The biggest, wildest, and most complex things of life are the real ones; the Chronicle is that and more.
After reading an article from the Chicago Tribune highlighting the tragedies of many high school newspapers’ demises, I was forced to look inward at what I have in Mason. Mason High School is a prime example as to what students can make together, given the resources and thought. What I have is truly one of a kind. In few other places around the globe does a band of astronomically different people have the opportunity to come together to make something amazing.
The benefits of student journalism cannot be made quantative because they are uniquely different for each, but I will try to spell mine out. These serve as personal evidence as to why this expanding slaughter of newspapers needs to be reversed. Each reason may be simple, but as a whole, they twist and tie together to form a complex knot.
Firstly, my journalism experience has helped me to expand myself in high school. If I had never joined the Chronicle, I would never have known about the school’s transition from Microsoft to Google, or the robot building competitions that my classmates compete in. Likewise, my published stories help to get what I think is interesting and important into the hands of my peers. Without my stories, many students would never have known of their classmates’ work and perseverance that becoming an Eagle Scout entails, or of an epic Nerf Battle, pinning friend against friend for charity. Some may say ignorance is bliss, but there is no better feeling than seeing your classmate’s picture in the Chronicle and being able to congratulate them on their success, while relishing the high school pride.
There is no other class that I know of that can teach real-world skills through real-world interactions. The scariest part of joining the Chronicle for me was the constant threat of talking to someone that I don’t know. By forcing myself to face this fear on a daily basis, the Chronicle has made me more prepared for life, and not just in a future of journalism. Through countless interviews and discussions, my confidence in sharing my ideas to others has soared to where I could never have imagined.
Finally, and most importantly, the Chronicle staff has become a family away from home for me, and not just because I have a family member with me. The relationships that I have made with people I would never have known or even looked twice at are now important parts of my everday life. The Chronicle is a sanctuary where I can go to share and write my thoughts, and although they are often ridiculed, it is for the purpose of making me better. News lasts for a couple days; maybe even a week. But friendships know no time limit.
I hope that this information has provided enough reason to breathe life back into the dying breed of high school newspapers. Journalism has durastically changed my life for the better, so I guess Hugh Hefner and I really have a lot in common.
“Newspapers in school, all the way back to grammar school on the Northwest Side, and then the Steinmetz Star, they were major influences in school for me,” Hefner said. “I think that … papers, in particular, inspire students in that direction. Certainly it was true in my case.”