How addicted are we to the Internet?
In addition to our lives, news also lives and dies on the internet. In fact, the invention of the internet may have been the biggest contributor to investigative journalism.
Websites like HuffPost and The Guardian would not exist without the help of the Internet, and could never be the places for independent journalists to speak their mind with no agenda at play. Even major news organizations, from “The New York Times” to our very own “Chicago Tribune,” rely heavily on their websites to transmit information to the public.
Our website (www.parkerweekly.org) is already a hub for news and opinions inside the Parker bubble, and each day, students can log on to read about everything happening in the news, from informative news briefs to specialized Parker Reacts videos.
And yet, those same individuals who are featured on “The Weekly’s” website are the only ones who can view it.
Our website is privatized, meaning that only those who have a Parker login are able to read our articles and view our photos, instead of the community as a whole. Grandparents and other family members who are not directly related to the school are unable to log on and read about what the students at 330 W. Webster are up to, thus isolating ourselves from the rest of the news world.
For years, the journalists of “The Weekly” have asked the administration to allow us to open up the website to the public, and each time we have been met with a resounding “no.”
At a progressive school such as Parker, students are encouraged to express their opinions and spark change in the world. After all, are we not taught to “think and act with empathy, courage, and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community?” Opening up our website to the public would embody our progressive nature and allow community members without logins to see the content.
University High, a school also in the Independent School League, has opened its website to the public, and it has thrived. We seek to emulate that sort of success.
At a school as progressive as this one, where students are told to spend their day marching on the streets of Chicago for issues they believe in, where free-thinking discussions frequent classrooms as often as homework assignments, how is it that our main student publication is closed-off from the rest of the world?
As future journalists, writers, and communications majors, we need a place to share our minds with the world. We need a place where we can freely write articles that pertain to our lives and share those same thoughts with the world. Part of being journalists is getting our voices out in the world, and exposing the wrongs with society. If our website, a perfect example of our skills as student journalists, is blocked to the outside world, then we are unable to let experienced journalists see our work and give us advice.
You may be wondering, what does this have to do with me? What good would a public website do for those who don’t care about journalism or writing? For that, we have an answer. A public website shows that not only do we care about our students, enough so that we are willing to write about our achievements and successes and publically share them with the world, but also that our administration trusts its students enough with the ability to control its public image.
We are proud of this publication. Our staff spends countless hours on each issue. This school has taught us the importance of sharing–– not only with our peers, but with the world around us. We simply ask if we can put this principle into practice.