Hello, World — We’ve Gone Print

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Editors Oscar Scholin (left) and Matthew Mendez (right) pose with a 1989 version of the paper.

Written by Oscar Scholin, Editor

Now I know what you’re thinking: why on Earth would the NewsBreaker stop using its website and go through the extremely arduous process of designing and printing a physical paper in the Information Age where newspapers are sooner kept as historical relics than used as primary sources of news dissemination? And, how old is the NewsBreakers anyway? Well, like most things in life, the answers are complex, but here’s a brief explanation of why we went paperful and some additional relevant historical information.

 

Bonnie Gartshore, the NewsBreaker editor in 1943, reported that the NewsBreaker originated as the Knockout, which was founded in 1921 by John Down, son of Robert H. Down. This fact may make the NewsBreaker one of the longest-running school newspapers in California at about 98 years of age. After some sleuthing by English and Drama teacher Mrs. Selfridge, we discovered that the NewsBreaker took a 6 year hiatus starting in 2008 before Camden Smithtro restarted the paper online (https://pgnewsbreaker.com/) in 2014.

 

Okay, so the NewsBreaker has had a life longer than you might expect from a school newspaper, but why did we just stop using the website? Well, last year, the District was sued by a company because of copyright infringement: apparently, someone had attempted to use a copyrighted picture without permission for an article they were writing. After the editors that year published said article with said picture, this company — whose sole purpose in existence is to locate and report instances of copyright infringement — filed a lawsuit. The District ended up taking the blow, and we were allowed to retain the NewsBreaker as a viable club. However, the District had one condition: we were disallowed from continuing to use the website. Thus, the NewsBreakers faced a great challenge: attempt to defy the District and continue publishing, quietly lie down and accept defeat, or go print. Obviously, we chose the latter option.

 

Today, we face a hidden threat: no, I’m not talking about a world war or climate change. I’m talking about fake news. The advent of the World Wide Web sparked many revolutions with global implications — the immediate diffusion of information from a single source to millions upon millions of people all over the globe went from science fiction to a taken-for-granted reality. While many use this power to spread knowledge, share their works of art, or connect with long lost friends and make new ones, others see this wonderful tool as a decisive weapon — one that is both extremely effective and deceiving. The 2016 U.S. Presidential election is a case in point. Targeted political ads on social media platforms and other news sources published fake information regarding the two candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This issue is a very sticky one because, by the First Amendment, every U.S. citizen may voice his or her opinion without fear of persecution, unless the speech presents an immediate danger. While I can’t offer a direct solution to the problem of fake news, I do believe that the more well-read and educated we are, the more likely we are to spot blatant fallacies and instances of biased news. I believe that while print news will never replace online news, it helps to ensure accountability as there is an identified company, publisher, or journalist whom you can write to in order to voice concerns over facts or interpretations of evidence. There’s also a wonderful feeling when you are able to hold the paper in your hands and feel it — much the same as it feels holding and reading a physical book as opposed to an online version. There’s just something about a print version: it enables you to have a more intimate conversation with the author without the glaring brightness of a screen or an annoying — and sometimes misleading or inappropriate — ads. So, in a way, by going print, the NewsBreaker is bringing those elements and enjoyments to reading the news back to the students, parents, and teachers at PGHS all for our greater goal of bringing the PGHS community their news in a fun and approachable way while generating an interconnected and inspired student body. So keep a look out for future print NewsBreaker editions, and may we all benefit as a result.