May 21 editorial
Like many employers in Summit County, The Park Record tries to work with a few high school interns each year. This year we had two — Brianna Wilson from Park City High School and Emily Flinders from South Summit.
The two wrapped up their internships this week and both wrote very thoughtful editorials about what they had learned over the course of the school year. It got us thinking about what we learned from them.
Flinders contacted The Record early last summer saying that her high school didn’t have a student newspaper and she wanted to start one. She had already lobbied her principal and school board and was willing to spend part of her summer vacation laying the groundwork.
As the beginning of school approached we were on standby with advice and a printing press, but it was Flinders who lined up a staff, organized a contest to name the paper (she and her staff settled on The Paw Print) and taught herself how to use the page layout software. The Paw Print’s first edition came out in time for Homecoming in October and the paper hasn’t missed a press deadline since.
In her farewell editorial Flinders credits the whole school for the successful launch of the paper. But we hope the students and faculty at South Summit realize that The Paw Print started out as just one student’s vision, one who is leaving a valuable legacy at her alma mater.
Wilson had the advantage of assuming the editor’s post at a well-established high school newspaper, The Prospector. She also took on the challenge of writing a twice-monthly column for The Park Record.
Our ground rules for the "Student to Student" column are the same as they are for our adult columnists. We do not tell them what to write about but we do expect them to represent their subjects fairly and accurately. While some students might have chosen to write a light-hearted column about campus life, Wilson wanted to use the opportunity to dig into some ongoing controversies at the high school. We were very proud of that and, while warning her of the potential consequences, we urged her to speak out.
As a result, we received some pretty harsh letters and a visit from school district officials. At that point, we wouldn’t have blamed Wilson if she had decided to tone it down. After all, her critics were pretty formidable. But like any journalist worth her salt, Wilson kept picking controversial topics and took the heat. In today’s edition she explains why it was so important to her to tackle issues like the athlete attendance policy and the Newsweek rankings, even though she was criticized for doing so. Judging by the feedback we received, Wilson did exactly what a good journalist should do raise awareness and stimulate debate.
So, as we say goodbye to our two interns this year we must thank Flinders for reminding us how exciting (and nerve racking) it is to see each edition come together and how gratifying it is to see our work being circulated and talked about in the community.
And we need to thank Wilson for reminding us how hard and rewarding it is to call for change and then see it happen.
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Summit County has launched a new program aimed at overturning wrongful convictions.