Check out this article by Olivia Millar on the Independent Project, and how we can integrate such a system at duPont Manual.
We have officially finished Issue 1 of Volume 2 of The Red Pen, with our entirely new 2013-2014 staff. Check out the pdf here or come see us at our official distribution on October 9 between 7:10am-7:40am in Manual’s courtyard.
It’s been a while since The Red Pen was published for the first time back in May. A new school year has started, and so have new stresses, for editors and contributors alike—ironically enough, because the second issue of The Red Pen focuses on academic stress, as well as the complex issues of depression and suicide. We are proud to announce that this second issue is set to be printed; however, as we have to wait a week and a half or so to distribute it to our 1900-strong student body, until then we will release only a preview of what is to come. Content has piled up for the topics covered in this issue, so it will be about double the size of the first, or a few over twenty pages. We are so pumped to get this printed, and so excited to give you a taste of its content! YEAH!
Over the past couple of days, since the SPLC’s press release about the Courage in Journalism Award, Patrick, Emily, and I have received lots of feedback on the first issue of The Red Pen, from e-mails to blog posts to Tweets. We are excited to hear as much as we possibly can about ways to improve upon our first issue in the publication of a second, which will hopefully be released within the next month—senior year, unfortunately, is getting in the way of efficiency. But I digress.
We wish to make the next issue more dynamic and varied, although we will still have a topical focus as we did in the first. This second issue will be aimed at academic stress, primarily at Manual, the school we attend, as well as depression and suicide, which are sometimes linked to the former topic. Our coverage lineup is coming along, and we are still open to any and all advice on how to make our next publication better, more journalistic, have more of an impact.
The source of the bulk of the feedback we’ve received about The Red Pen has been via people who heard about the publication through Glenn Greenwald, a revered political journalist and blogger and honestly a highly respected figure for many of Manual’s communications students. In fact, several months ago, Patrick, Emily and I traveled to Indianapolis with our journalism teacher Mr. James Miller to see Mr. Greenwald speak at Indiana University at a panel discussion called “The War on Terrorism: The Constitution & Civil Liberties.” After listening to his arguments concerning the erosion of civil liberties under the Obama administration, we asked if we could interview him privately. We had been interested in censorship of the student press and the effect of censorship on journalism, so we asked him questions to that effect, and he offered his opinions on the importance of enterprise in journalism, that journalists ought to be committed to fighting those issues, even if it occasionally seems like a losing battle.
Today, in a blog post titled “Various matters: cyberwar, last gasps, and hate speech,” Mr. Greenwald took notice of The Red Pen’s recent Courage in Journalism award, even mentioning that we had interviewed him at the event back in February. In addition to making us ecstatic, this gesture has allowed The Red Pen to be made known to even more journalistic personalities in the world, and we hope that we keep hearing from those who can offer their own input and past experience so that we can continue to improve as journalists.
Along that vein, Emily and I and possibly Patrick will be attending the JEA-NSPA National High School Journalism Convention this coming November, where we will hopefully be giving a workshop on student press freedoms and dealing with a cantankerous high school administration. We very much hope to continue to publish The Red Pen and to learn from that convention as we have from conventions past: ways we can, again, further improve our journalism.
The Red Pen, Tennessee yearbook and newspaper adviser receive Student Press Law Center and National Scholastic Press Association Courage in Journalism Awards
View the SPLC’s official press release here, or read it below.
“Students at a Kentucky high school who overcame administrative censorship by launching their own independent publication, and a Tennessee yearbook adviser who was reassigned after defending his students’ right to publish a candid article about being gay, are the winners of the 2012 Courage in Student Journalism Award.
The recipients are the staff of The Red Pen, an independent newspaper at duPont Manual High School in Louisville, Ky., and James Yoakley, the former newspaper and yearbook adviser at Lenoir City High School, Tenn., who has since been reassigned to teach seventh-grade English teacher at Lenoir City Middle School.
The awards are given annually to student journalists and school officials who have demonstrated exceptional fortitude in defending freedom of the press. The Courage award is co-sponsored by the Student Press Law Center, the National Scholastic Press Association, and the Center for Scholastic Journalism at Kent State University, which underwrites a $500 cash prize plus travel expenses for the winners. The awards will be presented on Nov. 17 at the National High School Journalism Convention in San Antonio.
The Red Pen was the brainstorm of student staffers at duPont Manual’s official student publication, The Redeye, who became frustrated with edicts from their principal to refrain from mentioning topics that might cause controversy, including homosexuality. The students even were forbidden from publishing a news story about the arrest and firing of a teacher whose removal was already well-publicized in the local media.
The students – Zoe Schaver, Patrick Hartel, Emily McConville, Kelsey McKim, Dakota Sherek and Virginia Johnson – used their own off-campus time to build a website, www.theredpen.org, and raised the money to distribute a print version.
Schaver, one of six student organizers, said, “Our teachers prepared us so well for journalism in the real world. So when we, The Red Pen’s editors, all joined school publications and ran, time and time again, up against an administration that was highly uncomfortable with most kinds of controversy, we decided that as journalists our duty was to create a way we could report on those crucial, if controversial, topics—despite the influences of a conservative administration. The Red Pen was essentially a product of all we had learned as journalism students—all we had learned about the true purpose of journalism, including that fulfilling this purpose was vital to the existence of an open, fair society.”
Schaver credits the assistance she and the staff received from the SPLC during the transition: “We read up on the issue on the SPLC’s website, learning what we needed to do to avoid being punished by that same administration we were circumventing.”
SPLC Executive Director Frank D. LoMonte said, “The Red Pen is simply one of the highest quality ‘underground’ publications you will ever see. Through their determination, these students conclusively proved three things. First, they proved that you can give a student audience uncensored news about topical issues without the sky falling. Second, they proved that censorship always fails, because it’s impossible in the 21st century to keep information under wraps. And third, they proved that students are often more mature and blessed with better judgment than the people in charge of their schools.”
Yoakley was named the non-student winner of the “Courage” award for his outspoken defense of press freedom in the face of two nationally publicized censorship incidents. First, administrators refused to allow the editor-in-chief of the newspaper to publish an opinion column about how atheists felt ostracized at the school. Then, the school board and superintendent publicly vilified students for publishing a first-person yearbook story, in which a student told his story about coming out as gay to his parents.
“I am amazed that doing the right thing, though not necessarily the easy thing, could develop into a story that garnered national attention,” Yoakley said. “The spring and summer were filled with censorship, reprisals, and a fear of what might happen. Even though the outcome was not ideal, right, or perhaps, even finished, I hope that students are inspired to continue to write the stories that deserve to be told, to tackle the difficult subjects with zeal, and to give voice to students who are so often kept silent.”
Yoakley said the SPLC support during the controversy was vital to him. “The encouragement they provided and the publicity they gave my story, my students’ story, have helped me in ways I cannot express,” he said.
“In the face of vicious bullying by the superintendent and school board of the Lenoir City School District, James Yoakley put himself in harm’s way to protect his vulnerable students. The First Amendment matters most when disempowered minorities seek to have their voices heard alongside the majority’s. James Yoakley understands that, and by his example he lives it. He showed his students – and all students – what it means to honor the American values of our Constitution even when it would be easier to give in to the braying voices of ignorance and hate,” LoMonte said.
Since 1974, the Student Press Law Center has been devoted to educating high school and college journalists about the rights and responsibilities embodied in the First Amendment, and supporting the student news media in covering important issues free from censorship. The Center provides free information and educational materials for student journalists and their teachers on a wide variety of legal topics on its website at www.splc.org.”
I hope you’ll forgive my slight intrusion into your Monday morning, which I suspect many of you thought was just that: an ambiguous Monday morning. Today, however, isn’t an average Monday. It’s World Suicide Prevention Day, and that’s a really big deal.
As a teacher, your job description is, of course, an expectation that you will provide students with the means to achieve and understand new things. You are essentially moulding the newest generation—a fresh batch of politicians, steelworkers, artists and everything in between. Teaching your pupils facts and the ability to manipulate those facts into something tangible is something you are required to do.
But you know as well as I do that you also have the opportunity to instill morals, values and general good character—whether by example or by careful crafting—into your students, and I wholeheartedly believe that this is a great opportunity to do just that.
According to the World Health Organization, one person in this world takes their own life every 40 seconds, and this rate is expected to double (1 person/20 seconds) by 2020. Further, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that suicide is the third most common death for young people (ages 15-24) in the United States. Now take into account that 90% of all suicides are associated with a mental disorder and two out of three people that have depression never seek treatment.
I would only ask that you spend some time discussing these problems with your classes today. I know how closely you plan your classes, and I know that what you have to teach is important. But you could save a person’s life today. You could save someone from substance abuse, or you could help someone find help.
I’ve attached the flyer we’re handing out today. If you have questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact me or visit http://twloha.com, the website of the organization sponsoring this awareness week.
We’re all in this together. Spread the love.
TWLOHA and other organizations like it seek to spread information and educate about issues of depression and suicide, targeted at youth, who are often vulnerable to these issues as well as misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding them.
You can read the vision and mission of the TWLOHA movement here.
The next issue of the Red Pen is in progress and will be distributed in the next month or month and a half. The themes of this issue will be academic pressure at duPont Manual High School and the high school community at large, as well as suicide and depression, with testimonials from individuals who have suffered various types of depression, treatment for depression, and who have helped others through the illness. If you have a story you think should be told, or a request for a topic to be covered, please contact the editors of The Red Pen at my email, email@example.com. We hope to hear from you soon
To the Student Body,
The goal of TWLOHA is to raise awareness about depression, addiction, self-harm and suicide, and to support those whose lives are affected by these things.
We’ve all seen the Suicide Prevention videos at school—we all remember the jokes about “permanent naps” and feeling a little guilty for laughing at them. But the truth is that we also know how serious an issue this is for us. We all have known or at least known of someone who has taken or attempted to take his or her life. It may have been because of academic pressure and not feeling up to standard. It may have been because of bullying, homophobic or otherwise. It may have been a case of depression – terrible and unexplainable.
Those Suicide Prevention videos are getting a little better, but there is so much more to be done than to write “yes, I need a counselor’s help,” or “no, I don’t,” on a little slip of paper once a year. Education is important. Helping students know they are not alone is important. Making sure every person is aware of all of the reasons he or she is worthwhile is so, so important.
The Red Pen hopes to raise awareness of these issues and of their true nature—depression is not the same as “I’m a little sad.” It’s a serious, well-documented and well-researched medical illness. It can be related to a situation, but it doesn’t have to be, and it’s often not as simple as, “I’m upset because my boyfriend broke up with me.”
Please, take the time to educate yourself about depression and suicide. Take the time to look up movements like To Write Love on Her Arms. Take the time to make this issue something everyone takes seriously.
—The Red Pen