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.