The student newspaper of Strath Haven High School. The Panther Press is first and foremost a reflection of the opinions and interests of the student body. For this reason, we do not publish any anonymous or teacher-written submissions, and we do not discriminate against any ideology or political opinion. While we are bound by school policy (and funding), we will not render any article neutral, although individual points may be edited for obscene or inflammatory content. Finally, the articles published in the Panther Press do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or advisors.

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Leditor: Why Does Journalism Matter?

Claire Van Duyne, '18, Editor-In-Chief

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Dear Readers of the Panther Press,

It’s been a long few months here at Strath Haven, from finals to community issues to nationwide tensions. Never have I ever felt so strongly about the need for journalism in the world as I do today. As we enter a new age of alternative facts and disregard for the truth, I think it is important for us students to evaluate the role of journalism and the media, from addressing high school level problems to communicating information on the nationwide and even worldwide scale.

Now besides shamelessly advocating for school wide participation in the Panther Press, I truly believe that the power and duty of the press is a central democratic value. Freedom of thought is capacitated by a free flow of knowledge, devoid of bias. While it is impossible to name such an unbiased source in today’s mediated age, there are enough organizations reporting and journalists writing to find the facts if one wishes to distinguish them from the blur of background noise that dominates the current media stage.

Currently President Trump and his administration are stressing a distrust and disregard for media, going as far as to refuse to give a question to CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s during his first press conference as president. He cut off Acosta, pointing his finger and calling CNN fake news. This lack of regard for the importance of the press as current president of the United States is troubling to say the least, mostly this building distrust has morphed into a disregard for the facts. PolitiFact, an organization that fact checks the validity of statements made by politicians, discovered that 17 percent of Donald Trumps facts are extremely false, 33 percent entirely false, and 19 percent mostly false. The New York Times reports that Donald Trump lies the second most out of all politicians within the past nine years at 76 percent of the time, behind Ben Carson the Head of Housing and Urban Development at 84 percent.

Now politicians have been lying for as long as government has existed, but the extreme influx of falsehoods into everyday life means that there is a new responsibility for the press. Regardless of political affiliation or corporate sponsorship, journalism is more important to our democracy now than ever before. We need free information and journalists courageous enough to report on the truth. The press exists as the linchpin of a functioning democracy by making political accountability a reality and enabling civic participation. Change by the people and for the people is facilitated by a free press. Whether our journalists and media step up to the plate in times of duress may just be a factor in the sustainability of our values.

While Strath Haven is just a high school where we report sports and classes and community issues, the press on even such a small scale gives us students – us members of our democracy – a chance to interact with the outside world. It gives us a chance to address relevant issues, deliver information, and – should the reaction be strong enough – invoke change. Activism is spurred through a driven media, an informed public is created through journalism, and free press is the defining feature of what it means to be a democracy. Let us continue to question alternative facts and not accept anything less than the truth. Let us continue to strive towards journalistic integrity and hold in our hands the capacity for change.

Yours,

Claire Van Duyne

The student newspaper of Strath Haven High School. The Panther Press is first and foremost a reflection of the opinions and interests of the student body. For this reason, we do not publish any anonymous or teacher-written submissions, and we do not discriminate against any ideology or political opinion. While we are bound by school policy (and funding), we will not render any article neutral, although individual points may be edited for obscene or inflammatory content. Finally, the articles published in the Panther Press do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or advisors.
Leditor: Why Does Journalism Matter?