Change is often feared, because it is a journey into the unknown, which is always a little more scary and worrisome than the status quo. It is, however, only through the venue of change that progress can be accomplished.
Last week, the school board took a step in the direction of progress with its decision to investigate the possibility of a high school newspaper. BHS, normally an innovative school, has fallen sadly behind the times in this issue. It is included in the less than 25 percent of Kansas high schools that do not have a student-run newspaper.
Although students in the current journalism class write articles for the local paper, this endeavor is hardly comparable to what they would learn if they were provided with the opportunity to run their own publication. In the present system, the students are not able to view or understand the mechanics of what actually goes into the printing of a newspaper, the layout of it or any of the technical details that are as much a part of journalism as is the actual writing. This knowledge would prove invaluable to those of us interested in pursuing a career in journalism.
Students not involved directly in the paper would benefit also. Besides encouraging school pride, students would be able to air their views and opinions in a healthy manner by writing letters to the editor that could be published in the next monthly issue.
The proposal the board heard would, if all goes as planned, not even cost the district financially. The cost would be absorbed by a grant that Baker and the Journal-World are willing to collaborate with BHS on. Also, the stories written for the local paper currently would not have to cease. If the newspaper was introduced into the curriculum as a separate class from journalism, which it would almost certainly have to be since the current journalism class also produces the yearbook, a heavy load in itself -- there is no reason why the already existing class would have to stop writing articles for the local paper.
Now, as you may have guessed, I am as big an advocate for a BHS student-run publication as anyone. Obviously, this column is arguing for instituting a BHS paper, however that is exactly what a column is meant to be, a vehicle for sound opinion, and strong advocacy. Accordingly, my opinion is that a BHS newspaper would benefit everyone involved: students, staff and community.