Press from a student’s perspective

Press from a student’s perspective

Sophi Thompson, Print Editor in Cheif

A school newspaper is a balancing act in the world of journalism. I’m a student. I know how the student body mocks school publications, about how we’re a filtered, censored source of information, how everything we write will be inspected from the perspective of teenagers and their parents alike, but all through the lens of the Walter Johnson community. I can’t help but wonder my classmates’ perspective of me, of the other writers.

In my writing my friends will recognize that I’m not just a senior at WJ, I’m reflecting the political correctness of our administration, the biases of my community and the fear of how I’ll be interpreted by my peers. It’s damn scary to try to write authentically to a few thousand people who you see for six hours a day who are not shy about telling you how they feel.

That’s why I stay safe, write articles that either stay entirely objective or share opinions that I can defend or just make my audience focus on laughing at me instead of what I’m trying to say.

I’ll be judged on what I say. Whether it’s whispered in confidence or shouted through the halls. I have to force myself into the box of teacher, parent and peer expectations in order to be a high school journalist.
If these columns stop coming, just know I’ve taken up a hobby with less political pressure. I’m going to become my dad at some point, posting blogs to Facebook where no one will censor me and submitting letters to the Washington Post every Sunday. It’s not even that I’m a revolutionary thinker in any regard; my ideas won’t set eyes ablaze if they’re read in a school paper.

I’m playing the part of a cog in a larger machine, and with my writing limited my thoughts don’t have anywhere to grow. It’s stagnation, and 17 is far too young for me to peak. It would certainly be obnoxious if I disregarded journalistic standards in the name of personal growth, so I will complain about the faults in this platform right on the platform itself. If that’s not free press, I don’t know what it is.