General Editor’s Farewell Address: 2017-2018
Salutations, Hanover High School peeps,
It’s been one heck of a ride, but with graduation looming, it’s about time that I said goodbye as co-general editor of the HHS Broadside. Here goes nothing.
Inform. Entertain. Engage. Disinfect. Those were the four goals laid out for the Broadside by Gabe (our adviser) in a workshop during October, and those have been what the paper has strived to do for the past year. Although it did experience its fair share of fits and starts, I feel that the paper accomplished all those goals in some point. Hanover High claims to be a democratic school, and although the truth of that statement is debatable at times, there is no doubt that a free press is needed to help inform citizens on the matters at hand. We did this with consistent reporting from institutions such as Council and the Dresden School Board. We also worked hard to dispel rumors and set the confirmed facts straight on breaking news stories. We also put lots of effort in entertaining our audience with movie reviews, comprehensive reporting on music and theater both in and outside of school, puzzles, and art displays. The Broadside also did its best to be a medium where members of the HHS community could have their voices heard, whether it be through op-eds or forum boards.
I’m also glad to say that our readership numbers increased this year. We tried our best to combine traditional editions with a strong presence on the web through social media. While we are far from perfecting outreach, it’s good to see more people engaging with the newspaper.
There are countless folks that I must thank, of course. First and foremost are students who served on this past year’s Broadside staff. The newspaper would be nothing without them. Producing high-quality journalism is demanding work and can seem like a thankless task at times, especially when one has to juggle all of the other challenges that high school throws at them. However, this year’s writers rose to the occasion more than once by consistently creating content central to our goals as a newspaper; it’s work to be proud of.
In particular, I would like to extend my thanks to our full-time paper staff: Sophie Caulfield, our photography editor; Julia Cook, our arts editor; Stephen Wang, our copy editor; Claire Austin-Washburn, our opinion editor; and Caleb Benjamin, our news editor. They are the backbone of the Broadside. I must also thank frequent contributors to the paper such as Perrin Milliken (whose detailed monthly Dresden School Board reports were much appreciated), Jasper Zeng (whose willingness to write about a wide variety of topics I commend), Sarah Dunbar and Audrey Lee (whose art definitely jazzed up the paper), Will Cahoon, and Sophie Usherwood among many others. Oh, and I better mention Kezar Berger and Kyle Postans or I will never hear the end of it.
I am also eternally grateful to our adviser, Mr. Gabe Brison-Trezise (HHS ’12). Gabe not only drew upon his experience as a journalist to teach us proper journalistic writing and ethics but also provided valuable guidance when the paper was handling sensitive stories; he helped us navigate stormy seas on several occasions, and was always willing to lend his time to the paper (and I’m not even mentioning the time he puts into the Quiz Bowl team).
Last but definitely not least, it would be blasphemy to not thank my co-general editor and partner in crime: Dan Zegans. The paper (which he has worked for even longer than I have) would not be the same without him. Beyond his refined movie reviews (sorry we never got to officials roast a film we hated, Dan) and editorials, Dan injected life into Broadside meetings with his witty observations about all things ranging from memes to history to heavy metal music. I have him to thank for getting the creative juices running, and for being a good friend.
Having spent so much time talking about the past, it’s only fair to discuss the paper’s future too. I’m pleased to announce that rising senior Caleb Benjamin will serve as general editor of the Broadside for the 2018-2019 school year. Caleb has been a dedicated and consistent reporter both in the Council chambers (with his informative weekly reports) and outside of them (as shown by his in-depth analysis of the student body’s stances on firearm regulations), and as news editor he always has new ideas for topics of great relevance to the school community to explore. Leading the paper alongside Caleb will be Claire Austin-Washburn as Assistant General Editor and Stephen Wang as Web Editor. I have no doubt that the paper will grow and achieve great success under their leadership.
However, the HHS community, as the audience that the Broadside primarily seeks to serve, has a role to play as well. The paper styles itself on its website as “the voice of Hanover High,” but it can only be that when you (the students, staff, parents, alumni, and any other folks with ties to the school) continue to engage with it. This can include reading, sharing, or even contributing to the paper itself with articles, photographs, art, and videos. The people need the free press, and the free press needs the people.
Now for some parting advice, both for the Broadside’s future staff and for readers. Hanover High School has very beautiful and very ugly aspects. It’s important that the press and society examine and show both things fairly and honestly. One of my major regrets from my time as editor is that I did not act on opportunities to discuss more difficult topics facing HHS in the Broadside, so all I can say is don’t run away from hard truths and controversial issues. Instead, shine a bright light on them. There will be pushback (which you should still respectfully consider), but the best things can only come out when we’re willing to honestly examine the worst.
Also, always value trust. Honesty can seem in short supply at times, and trust is never easily earned back when it’s lost. My only fear having trust in me lost. Do your best to be trustworthy.
Well, I suppose that is all. Thank you for reading and supporting the Broadside; writing for it has been an honor, and I hope that I did the best I could as a reporter and as an editor. I’m glad I listened to my friend Danny Rorke when he coerced me into signing up for the Broadside during the activity fair my sophomore year.
Peace out, Hanover High,