By Jeongyoon Han
The most frequently mentioned president in 2017—besides the current commander in chief—is probably Obama, or, more to my point, Nixon, because the president’s war with the press seems to be going down the same slippery slope we took 40 years ago. The political showdown on Capitol Hill and attacks on journalists during Watergate appear strikingly similar to current events.
While the likely indefinite drama with the media will continue to give the staff on the Pebble much to discuss, budding journalists such as myself are now posed with an unforeseen challenge. Never before has the First Amendment been so under fire.
Censorship is a legitimate fear for many reporters in the United States and an issue high-school journalists also grapple with. As a private school, MPH doesn’t have to allow for a free-student press. But it does anyway.
My story about the confusion and concern of some members of the MPH community regarding the new colors and logo is a perfect example of the school embracing our right to free speech.
Given mass interest in the new colors, it seemed logical to pursue, yet I was hesitant that some people had negative views on this topic. Interviews were awkward at times, as some MPH community members felt uncomfortable openly criticizing the school that they love. I felt the same way, not only due to my strong sense of loyalty to MPH, but also because I feared what people would think of me as the author of a piece that questions something meant to help our school.
The reporting process is always taxing, but with such an important topic, I needed to triple the work a typical story requires. After more than 30 interviews were conducted, I submitted at least five drafts of the story with more than 30 pages of writing in total, created and conducted a student survey and reviewed all facts and quotes for accuracy.
As tedious as it can be at times, all in all, the journalistic process is crucial for us to deliver the best stories to you. We, the Pebble staff, strive to fulfill our recently established mission statement: to create compelling and accurate content for the MPH community.
With the power of free speech comes a greater duty for us to stick to our highest standards of reporting.
If successfully implemented, journalism has the power to spread new ideas; if not, the impact can be extremely harmful. Similarly, MPH has always been a place for its students to do whatever inspires and compels them (with some good, justified limitations) and to express themselves without judgment or fear of ridicule. A breeding ground for creativity and openness, our entire school has thrived because of this spirit, the Pebble included.
That we have so many unique and thought-provoking story ideas is a reflection of who we are as MPH students: members of a student body that never settles for conformity. We seize all opportunities to showcase that, and as a student journalist who has spent four years on The Rolling Stone and the Pebble staff, I’m thankful to have been able to contribute to this spirit of self-expression.
As I prepare to leave for college, I have yet to accept the fact that I will have to part ways with the funny, smart and inspiring staff of the Pebble. But I’m also eager to see how the Pebble will continue to reinvent itself.
With our website launch and a surge of new journalistic talent in our staff, I see countless paths that the Pebble can take. I can’t wait to see which one it chooses.