Celebrating Scholastic Journalism Week- Newspaper staff works to maintain high standard under protection of Kansas Scholastic Press Act

Caitlin Holland, Editor-in-chief

I, the editor-in-chief of the Tiger Print, write this column to you, the reader, as National Scholastic Journalism Week approaches on Feb. 20.

I’ve been able to learn more about my school writing for the Tiger Print than I ever could have accomplished otherwise.

To know my words are discussed around school is a privilege I take seriously.

As a four-year journalism student, I know the rights Kansas provides its high school journalists are far more generous than many other places.

Student journalists here are protected under the Kansas Student Publications Act. This act grants our staff the right to determine for ourselves what content will run in each section of our paper.

Only six other states have similar protections for student publications.

Many high school journalists in states without these rights will work hard to produce a story on an important issue, only to have a school administrator deny them the right to publish it.

That benefits no one, besides maybe the school’s PR and image.

The student reporter will probably never attempt such a story again.

The readers throughout the school community will be denied the opportunity to read a piece on a relevant topic.

This cannot happen to any student publication in the state of Kansas, and we should celebrate that.

Here, everything we publish is OK’ed by our editors, after discussion of angle, relevance and quality.

The column you are reading right now was not graded by a teacher, or glanced over by school administration.

The right to print what we want in the paper is one we approach with caution. We realize that not everyone will agree with everything we publish — just like in the professional business.

And we also realize that we, as editors and reporters, will take the fall for any unprofessional content we publish because of that.

The act details that school or district administration cannot be held responsible in civil or criminal action for what we publish in the paper. That means we as students are.

That’s a big responsibility and another reason why we care so much about the content of the paper.

And because this publication is held to “high standards of English and journalism” as the act details, you as a reader have rights to express dissatisfaction when you feel we do not meet these standards.

It’s all in the name of professionalism.

You as a reader should expect accurate information on every single page of this paper. You should expect that the words you are quoted as saying were spoken by you, down to little things like dates of upcoming college visits to be correct.

You should expect these things from us, because we as students are practicing a skill that we may continue as careers later on. And, of course, everything we write is done so with the intention to be read by you, the students, staff and community of Blue Valley High School.

We may not always be perfect — we are learning — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect the best.

And if you have a concern about a story or disagree on a point made in a column, write a letter to me (the editor).

So long as you keep it generally short, professional in nature and drop it off in room 450, we will consider publishing it in the paper.

We want to hear from you.

We want the satisfaction of knowing you read and think about what we write.

And, most of all, we want the newspaper to serve its intended purpose: to educate its readers and spark discussion about important issues affecting our school today.