The Seattle Times' Opinion on "Public Forum" Student Papers

"But we say again it is a risky thing to give legal control of a high-school newspaper to students."

Seattle Times Editorial

Monday, April 12, 2010

Regarding Journalism in the Real World

There is no unfettered free speech at newspapers. The publisher and the editors decide what does and does not get published. If they don’t like an article that a journalist has written, it either doesn’t run or it is edited. They edit articles based on: 1) their own personal prejudices and standards; and 2) the standards of the community in which the newspaper is published. They know that if they publish articles or advertisements that are offensive, then people stop buying the paper and the newspaper loses lots of money in subscriptions and advertising. This is the way that all newspapers except for some high school and college papers work. I know because I worked for a paper the size of the now-defunct Ann Arbor News for eight years writing and editing and working in advertising.

Dexter High School journalism students should get the full journalistic experience. They should be prepared to work in the real world. They should be better supervised – just like at a real newspaper. They should have their articles edited for content to reflect the standards of the community – just like at a real newspaper.

I’ve read several issues of the Dexter Squall. I applaud those journalism students at Dexter High School who work hard at producing quality articles. However, some students are taking the low and easy road. Their tabloid journalism is offensive and not fit for any high school newspaper or for 99 percent of the newspapers published in this country. It is better that they learn this lesson now, than to be allowed to continue to produce articles that no respectable newspaper would publish.

Michael P.
(worked at a newspaper for 8 years)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"There can be no public virtue without private morality….And there cannot be a good society unless the majority of individuals in it are at least trying to be good people….A nation that is traveling the low road is a nation that is self-destructing. It is doomed, sooner or later, to collapse from within." - Clare Boothe Luce