The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

To Read or Not To Read

Readership of “The Weekly” is analyzed through a poll
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  • The results of part of the recent poll sent to the student body.

  • The results of part of the recent poll sent to the student body.

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After Student Government, Upper School students walk out of the auditorium and, on occasion, they go straight to a member of the Parker Weekly’s Board. No matter the member, they all have something in common, a huge stack of “The Parker Weekly” newspapers in their hands. Students typically take the newspapers and continue with their day. But how many of these students actually read “The Weekly”?

Last Sunday, the Upper School student body was polled about their “Weekly” readership. Out of 24 responses, 25% said “always,” 38% responded “sometimes,” 33% said “rarely,” and 4% responded “never.” Freshman Trisen Phillips said, “Often, I don’t get to read “The Weekly” because my duties as a freshman keep me busy.”

The most common complaint among students is that “The Weekly” is lengthy and slightly boring. What makes it boring? When are students more likely to read “the Weekly”? What makes them hesitant to flip to an article? What makes students more likely to read “the Weekly”? Responses included: 

  1. Captivating images — Parker students are more likely to read an article if the picture next to it is interesting. 
  2. Exactly 75% of respondents say that they’re more likely to read “The Weekly” if they or somebody they know is in it.

Freshman Laylani Pomales says, “It depends on what the article is. If it’s something funny, I’ll give it a little glance.”

  1. New subject matter — many Parker students feel that the information they see in “The Weekly” are repeats of things they’ve already heard about
  2.  Controversial articles, such as unfiltered opinions and op-eds on current events in the world
  3. More articles about students — this is popular. The John Swanson article written by Harry Lowitz is a great example of this.
  4. Better sudoku puzzles.

A lack of interest in school papers is common, and high schools across Chicago struggle with readership. Lincoln Park high schooler Maia Ben Barak says that she and her friends never read her school’s newspaper, and when they do, they read articles about school events such as Homecoming. Whitney Young Magnet High School student Cedy Gong never reads her school newspaper, and neither does Lane Tech student Gracie Lohrius and Jones College Prep student Olivia Barrezuta. 

Upper School history teacher Andrew Bigelow is an avid reader of “The Weekly.” He thinks an “eye catching photo” and a “great headline” goes a long way in encouraging people to read on. However, he encourages “The Weekly”  to avoid a headline that reads like an overwritten google slide. 

Every newspaper struggles to gain and maintain readers in a world overwhelmed by the internet. “You need to modernize and reach people where they’re at. Right now, our kids are in a soundbite nation of Instagram posts, Snapchat…whatever they need to get their point across in less than a second,” Bigelow said. However the question is, how far can “The Weekly” travel to meet the individuals of a “soundbite nation”? 

Though a gossip column would most likely improve ratings, it doesn’t seem to be newsworthy content. Over the past two decades newspaper sales have dropped from 55.8 million to 24.2 million, according to the Pew Research Center, and The Weekly readership data suggests a similar decline. As the world of journalism overcomes more and more challenges, “The Weekly will continue to work on covering more interesting topics that are of interest to the student body,” Bigelow said.  

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Christina Merikas, Staff Writer
Christina Merikas is delighted to join the Weekly team as a Staff Writer. She is new to Parker and absolutely loves reading and writing. In between boba runs, she likes to bake, watch Gilmore Girls, play guitar, and run.
Ellery Singer, Staff Writer
Ellery Singer, creative Staff Writer for the Parker Weekly, enjoys binge watching Friday Night Lights or reading something by S. E. Hinton. When she's not watching or reading you can probably find her on the fencing strip listening to the Goblin album by Tyler the Creator.