Bluenote received the following letter from the Gateway editor and staff in response to Bluenote’s recent posts on the Gateway Club. The theme of both Bluenote posts on Gateway was “finding one’s voice” through writing. It is an important part of NDP’s mission to teach the girls to do just that. To find one’s own unique voice, to become a free-thinking, independent young woman who will go out into the world and, hopefully, use that voice for the good of all (something the world of journalism is particularly good at). As the following letter indicates, NDP has done an excellent job of teaching the girls to find their collective voice. Kudos then to the Gateway staff, its editor, Julia Wilson, and its moderator, Mrs. Laura Lorenz, for having the courage to voice an editorial opinion so forthrightly. An excellent “teachable moment” for all involved.
Dear Blue Note Blog,
In your latest blog post, The Gateway Staff and I, felt that we were misrepresented. We were disappointed because we felt that the article discredited our work and passion for journalism. This year we have worked hard to introduce new ideas to our community in order to spark an interest and enthusiasm about this modern world of online journalism, but we felt that the tone of the article conveyed some disappointment with this change in journalism.
We were mainly troubled by your comments in the introduction:
- “I assumed I’d be interviewing the next generation of war correspondents and investigative reporters and that we’d discuss what it’s like to be a budding journalist in the digital age. That was not to be the case.”
- “A quick poll of the girls revealed that – at least for the moment – not a single one of them has any interest in pursuing Journalism as a major in college, nor, for the most part, do they consider it a viable career option.”
- “I’m sure this will come as a bit of a disappointment to the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Raymond, Arthur Sulzberger, Katherine Graham, Rachel Carson, Bob Woodward, HL Mencken, Edward R. Murrow, Henry & Clare Luce, Pauline Kael, Joseph Pulitzer,Helen Thomas, Maureen Dowd, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour, Rachel Maddow, Cokie Roberts, George Will, Matt Drudge, David Brooks, EJ Dionne, and Peggy Noonan...just to name a few.”
These statements suggest that we are not curious or serious journalists, which discredits us and our passion for journalism. We are, in fact, interested in journalism, and we believe this field plays an important role in our society. I expressed interest in writing articles related to math and science, and Olivia also expressed interest in pursuing journalism in college. Also, we stated that we believe the world of journalism is changing, which is different than your comment that journalism is no longer “a viable career option.” Additionally, it is troubling to us that this would be a disappointment to a long list of incredible journalists. I personally admire many of the journalists that you mentioned, so I found this statement particularly upsetting. However, this introduction was improved in the modified version of the blog post.
Also, we were shocked to see that Mrs. Lorenz was originally described as giving us “hands-off guidance,” which gives the impression that Mrs. Lorenz is not actively involved in the club. In reality, she works extremely hard to help us meet our goals, inspire us, and aid us in the process of writing quality articles. Finally, we wished that the photos had been cropped because we did not have our saddles on when the pictures were taken, and Katie and Mary’s picture was incorrectly labeled.
We appreciate you taking the time to read our thoughts on your blog post.
Julia Wilson, Editor & The Gateway Staff
Bluenote’s response: Bluenote thanks the staff of Gateway for their concerned response. A couple of quick clarifications for the record. “Not a viable career option” was a direct quote said during the interview. Bluenote simply repeated what was stated and apologizes profusely for not putting that phrase in quotes. That has been corrected. In a poll taken during the interview, when each girl was asked why she had joined the club, to a student her response was, “because I like to write.” No judgment was made regarding that motivation. It was simply reported. At which point, Bluenote had also found its “hook” or theme for the article. That is…”before being a voice for others one must first find one’s own voice.” Bluenote stands by that conviction. It appears it has also been corroborated by our ongoing communication. It, of course, was never suggested that the girls are a disappointment to a long legacy of outstanding journalists. On the contrary, it was suggested that the girls are journalism’s hope for the future. On the other hand, it was suggested that anyone who does cry a death toll for journalism might indeed disappoint those who paved the way. The Gateway Club is not among those ringing that particular bell. Lastly, the precise original description of Mrs. Lorenz’s involvement with the club was, “vigilant but hands-off,” suggesting that she is an extremely important presence, offering invaluable guidance, but that she gives the girls the freedom and independence to publish the paper on their own, a paper Bluenote referred to as “first class.” This nurtured independence is a hallmark of NDP education and was meant as a compliment. All of which goes to show just how difficult it can be to convery clear, concise, and truthful communication no matter how good the intention. Hats off to all those who try. Especially the staff and leadership of Gateway who devote countless hours of personal time outside the classroom to bring news and information to the rest of the school. The world is better off for budding journalists, writers, educators, and communicators being in it.
PS: both photos in the post have been corrected.