The student news site of Manhattan High School

The Mentor

The Mentor

The student news site of Manhattan High School

The Mentor

The Importance of student Journalism


Student and local journalism goes underappreciated by many. The free press rights of students and local journalists are central to an informed community. These rights must be retained and respected in order for journalism to truly accomplish its goal: uncovering the special stories and events of our school and community. Recognizing this goal is at the heart of Scholastic Journalism Week, which MHS Student Media and other student journalism programs across the country celebrated last week.

By giving opportunities for students to have a public forum, administrators  allow for a greater understanding of various parts of the school and what administrators themselves are doing, and it allows for transparency. It offers increased understanding and a more enriched experience for high schoolers. 

The same goes for local journalism. Especially in a community like Manhattan where there’s a huge emphasis on the community, having a local news source like The Mercury is essential. 

What happened in Marion, Kansas, late last summer is a concerning example of press rights being breached. The local police raided the files and house of the owner of this small newspaper in Marion County. The basis of the raid was quite flawed, and the police actions were completely unnecessary for what they were trying to find. Soon after, the owner, who was 98 years of age, died the next day. The raid garnered national coverage as it demonstrated the overstepping of power by the police, and more broadly, the government. Events like those in Marion are worrisome for the sustainability of local journalism, a pillar of small-town life.

At a school level, it’s the same as an administrator who doesn’t want student journalists to post a certain publication or write a certain story because it may threaten them. We are really lucky at MHS that our administrators are completely open to letting us have an ‘open forum.’ 

Student journalism is central to the high school experience. It gives numerous sources of information to people who might not otherwise have that info. It’s important to be in the know, especially when you’re in a school environment. 

Ultimately, the most influential impact of student journalism involves uncovering the stories of our students. In addition to the informational reporting, it’s the value of a student’s story, or a club story that makes journalism so powerful. Administrators, local lawmakers, law enforcement and community members must continue to support local and school journalists in these endeavors.

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