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Press On

We are not the enemy of the people - we are real news.

Photo by Mara Fryer

Photo by Mara Fryer

Photo by Mara Fryer

Joey O'Kelly

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I have a confession to make – I am an addict… to the news, that is. Every day, I set my alarm for 35 minutes before I have to get up so I have enough time to read through the headlines of my Apple News app, along with the trending stories on social media. I have this overwhelming need to always know what’s going on in the world.

Call it a blessing or a curse, but there are hundreds of thousands of news sources to scour through. I call it a blessing because there is endless news on endless platforms. It’s a curse because of my least favorite trend – “fake news.”

From the beginning, “fake news” referred to false stories that have the façade of a news story and are used for influence or as a joke. Unfortunately, “fake news” has only gotten worse from its original usage. The phrase is now used with more derogatory connotations.

In my career as a Bell staff member, I have written my fair share of controversial stories. The biggest of those was my “Star Spangled Banter” story from October, 2017, about kneeling during the national anthem. It was my masterpiece and I had to overcome obstacle after obstacle to get that story to perfection. As a journalist, it is my job to dig deep into a story, get the facts that I need and, like a Supreme Court justice nominee, tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That is how every reporter has been trained on The Bell staff. We are real student journalists, reporting real news. We work to be fair, balanced, honest and accurate. You can count on us.

Recently, it seems like journalism is a more controversial career than ever. President Trump has even referred to us as “the enemy of the people,” which is pretty harsh to hear as a 17-year-old journalist in a high school setting. However, what we do as journalists-in-training is more important than ever. When they try to silence us, we press on (yes, pun intended) and continue writing, reporting and publishing, because the power of the press is the power of the people.

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