Rights and Responsibilities

The Foothill Dragon Press is lucky in the way that it is a newspaper at a public high school therefore it is granted free speech rights by the First Amendment, as opposed to newspapers at private schools, which do not. This is because public schools are government agencies as opposed to private schools which are considered churches or businesses. As a government agency public school are guaranteed the right to a free press, however free speech, and free press as an extension, has been contested in schools and has resulted in the Tinker and Hazelwood cases that have tried to clarify things. In the Tinker case the US Supreme Court recognized that the First Amendment protects on-campus student speech and that all speech that is not unlawful or physically disruptive is allowed and protected. Later the Hazelwood case struck parts of this down, and significantly reduced the level of protection that the First Amendment provided to most school-sponsored student media to public high schools, i.e. school newspapers. However, although school newspapers can be censored, unlimited censorship is not allowed, and this allowance of censorship only applies to school-sponsored speech and does not apply to “public forums”. 

Best Work

"Standing out isn't always easy

This particular article won me the award for best lede of the month in December, "Glee a show that that once encouraged individualism, has succumbed to peer pressure". I am especially proud of this accomplishment because I have struggled creating compelling ledes to interest readers, and getting that award really highlighted my improvement to recognized for creating a really good lede. I have also struggled with titles, and this is one of the few that I did not have to revise, ask for input from other people or end up being changed. I am not quite at the level of title writing that I want to be yet, but I can see improvement which is how I will get there. Besides those points, I like this article because of the topic, granted peer pressure does not seem that original, a lot of teens have no idea the extent to which in penetrates our lives and I think I got that point across.  

"Land of (in)tolerance

I chose this article as one of my best pieces of work because I think it really showed my potential at the beginning of this year. This is the first article I wrote all year, and I picked something controversial that was being hotly debated at the time, which is good because that meant it was current and being talked about.  I used four sources, tried to be thorough while telling the story and introducing my opinion. I think the writing was good, and that my opinion was compelling enough to make people want to read it and become at least more informed about the issue even if they didn't agree with my position in the article.

"Gardening a path to a better future"  

This article is one of my best pieces partly because of all the initiative I showed. I think the writing is a little more cohesive than my earlier articles. It was a completely different style than my usual writing because it was a features article versus my usual opinion articles. I think just the fact that I was willing to go off and not only write an article in a section I don't belong to but interview someone shows how I have grown as a journalist, by willing put myself out there and try new things.

Personal Initiative

The best example of me taking initiative this year is my "Gardening a path to a better future" article. I stepped completely out of my comfort zone to interview someone because I thought they were interesting, and then wrote an article in a section that I wasn't even in about it. Then when I was told I needed more sources I interviewed a student at our school for the first time, and got someone who wasn't involved in The Foothill Dragon Press staff personally involved with our website. I really got out of my box of opinion articles to try something that was completely knew. I thought she was interesting at career day and I thought it would make a cool, different article so I just went for it. I was a little uncomfortable when I was interviewing her over the phone, but it was worth it because I was able to do something new and fun. Stepping out of my comfort zone with this article and interview really reminded me of what journalism was supposed to be about, chasing the new and interesting stories by taking initiative to do what may make you uncomfortable. 


The character trait that appeals the most to me is accuracy. I think it is extremely important for a journalist to have their facts straight before they publish something not only because they could be sued for libel, but because their reputation as a journalist will be tarnished. If a journalist is not publishing the facts, they might as well be a fiction author. News is a service for the people and if a journalist’s facts are eschew they can cause people to believe false facts, and false facts are worse than no facts at all. Accuracy is more than just having the right statistics though; it’s about having the entire story. If things are left out, then people still really do not know what is happening. Accuracy is essential to being not just a great journalist but to being a journalist at all. I always try to get across the full picture in all my articles, so people will not be misled or misinformed about the issues I am discussing. I always hyperlink my facts, and use statistics which are more accurate than general board assumptions about what is happening. 

My Highlight

Way back in August when I had no idea what to do, Mrs. Wantz had us interview each other, and I pulled out a name hoping for someone I knew, and I pulled out Trevor. Interviewing someone else for the first time definitely made me feel  uncomfortable, but I think I actually got really lucky pulling Trevor because he was hilarious. I remember when I was talking to him that he told this story about how he sledded down this hill shirtless with his friend because he was being chased by somebody, and trying so hard not to crack up in the interview. It was cool to talk to someone that I probably wouldn't have otherwise, and to get my first taste of journalism in a way that wasn't an unnerving situation, and resulted in hearing a story that still causes me to giggle.

Goals for Second Semester

I would definitely like to win the monthly award for having the most initiative. I was thinking of switching over to a different section to mix it up and try to see if putting myself in a different place would give me more creative ideas. I think initiative is super important to being a good journalist and lately I have felt like I have been running out of opinion articles ideas which is bad, so I think if I tried a new section it would cause me to find initiative more easily.





I actually did not know how to hyperlink before this class so I think my skills in hyperlinking have definitely improved from all the linking to sources that we do. 

Handling a camera

I learned how to use a camera at the summer workshop, and although I don't get to use it very much because I am in opinion, I did use it on my "Gardening a path to a better future" article. I am not entirely comfortable handling a camera and I would like the opportunity to get better and use one more next semester