Trina Paul, Gina Mathew, Kali Poenitske, Maddie Baden, Patrick Sullivan and Connor Balthazor.
These are the names of the Pittsburg Kansas High School’s newspaper staff. Six brilliant students who looked into the credentials of their former principal, Amy Robertson, because they felt a need to make sure she was qualified for her job.
We at The Bulletin want to recognize these high school students not just because they were investigating things they “shouldn’t have been” or because every other news outlet is giving them recognition, but because it’s important to understand that being a journalist isn’t sunshine and rainbows.
We know what it’s like to be told to not stick our nose into our school’s business.
After the active shooter event across the street, The Bulletin was asking why it took the school 50 minutes to send out alerts and why our Chief of Police and Safety wasn’t on the scene. We were told to stop reporting on the school’s mistake and in an attempt to get us to stop, we were not allowed to sit in on a public meeting about the safety alerts.
It’s not easy work. Especially in this day and age where hard-working reporters are falsely accused for spreading lies and posting “fake news.” In a time where reporters are often times subjected to hate speech based on what they report.
It’s especially hard on students who work on college newspapers. We’re just students holding a job and responsibility to bring factual news, all while keeping up with classes. We never ask to be called derogatory terms or to be outright attacked for what we write.
But those Pittsburg High School students, they set aside all the fear and threats, to take off the veil and discover the truth. These students risked their education based on a gut feeling. They could have been suspended or expelled if administration really felt the need to stop them.
Because that’s our job as reporters. It’s our responsibility to keep the community informed and give the facts.
If there is one thing that we wish for, it’s that there were more people, not just reporters, like those students in the world.
Be the people who question and clarify everything the establishment and government does. The people who go a step further and find evidence that does or does not support what is said.
Be the people who support journalists who protect your best interests.