(Note: I plan to publicize the latest blog at my school, so please don’t mind if it sounds more professional than my usual drivel.)
In the past year at Terra Linda, my school’s newspaper, the Voice of Troy, has made the jump from printed to online. All of the stories written in Journalism class have been placed on the school’s website for the whole world to see. The mistake Journalism made? They nixed the offline version. Biggest mistake in the paper’s history. Because the stories and reports are now open to the whole world, not only has this change made them vaguer, but it has erased virtually all opinion from them altogether. In fact, the Opinion section is gone, and has been replaced by restaurant reviews, and touchy-feely stories on basic high school social concepts (like “senioritis”). Also, barely anyone reads the paper anymore since it’s not shoved in their faces, giving the writers and editors more freedom to do less, since no one cares anymore. The Voice of Troy has become one of the most trivial and bland parts of TL’s student creations.
It wasn’t always this way. This realization that the Voice of Troy ultimately sucks was spawned when my U.S. History class came across old issues of the Voice from the 1970’s. We were amazed! In fact, even though none of the information had any significance to us, we all thoroughly enjoyed the papers. Why? Because there was charisma, there was style, there was opinion, and there was motivation. The articles covered everything from the nicknames of the JV soccer team members to poking fun at dehydration problems facing the school. There was at least one opinion page in each issue (published 8 times a year), and a comic to go along with it… a really good comic that stole no punch lines from other comic strips or lame jokes, like I’ve seen in more recent student comics. Maybe this was because of the revolutionary attitude of the 1970’s, or maybe it was because the internet wasn’t around to sap the creativity from all of our writers.
Now I wouldn’t just put this opinion out without some course of action, or a least a suggestion, seeing that I haven’t signed up for Journalism next year. Revamp the entire Voice of Troy. Start over, if needed. Adopt a new philosophy of localization, which will make the articles more interesting to read since they touch on things that directly affect us, the students. (The most recent Voice of Troy has an article about Lisa Lopez’s death. How about an article about the Dixie/San Rafael District unification issue?) Get more students to help out. Accept freelance work. Take photos. Have interviews. And most importantly of all, PUBLISH the damn thing. And I know in this day and age, publishing funds may be hard to come across… well, accept advertisements from local companies like the Voice always did. The ads actually worked, while making the publication look even more professional.
Being a webmaster who prefers to type up everything and publicize as much stuff on the internet as possible, I am not saying the Voice of Troy should scrap its online version, but if the printed version completely changes its look and feel, the online version should act accordingly. Does this sound like too much work? Well, I know of dozens of people who would be willing to help out with publishing to paper/web, as well as many other things I’ve already suggested. Maybe TL can show how it feels by doing something other than electing “Candidate #1” over “Candidate #2” for Student Official Who Has No Effect on What Administration Does.
To support my point, I’ll give an example of an article which definitely wouldn’t be published in this sort of Voice of Troy we have now. Anyone heard about John Wang being disqualified from senior class elections for having risqué campaign advertisements? Probably not. If the Voice of Troy had one more issue to make this year, I’d be damn sure it wouldn’t TOUCH the issue. The sheer mention of it would cause a stir in the administration and the student body, and let everyone know about something they may have cared about. In this NEW Voice of Troy I propose, that’s the exact reaction I’d expect from the article. It’d be a perfect cover-page story. Would the administration hate it? Well, yeah, the administration always hated the Voice when it touched on “sensitive” issues like these. But hey, this is America, and we as its inhabitants are entitled to our Bill of Rights.