#SJW2022: The oddest staffer you ever did see

#MakingConnections: Connecting with communities through Coppell Student Media


Angelina Liu

The Sidekick daily news/assignment editor Anjali Vishwananth reports from the Aug. 24 Coppell City Council meeting at Town Center. In the spirit of Scholastic Journalism Week, Vishwanath appreciates the opportunity to cover countless meetings as preparation for a future career in policy.

Anjali Vishwanath, Daily News/Assignment Editor

My job responsibilities on The Sidekick are as follows:

Anjali Vishwanath, daily news and assignment editor, City of Coppell and Coppell ISD Beat writer.

The latter two are the reason I applied for this position. I am possibly the only staffer who can honestly say I fell in love with city council and board of trustees coverage early in my first year on staff.

The year was 2020. The month, October. Exactly two years ago on that day, I was touring CHS9 as a transfer student. On Oct. 30, 2018, I was a stranger to Coppell. On Oct. 30, 2020, I felt like an insider, covering my very first city council meeting.

Typically, a Sidekick staffer is assigned to cover one city council or board of trustees meeting in the year. Last year, I covered two of each. This year, I’ve covered four city council meetings and two board of trustees meetings.

When I first expressed my interest in these coverage stories last year, my predecessor, Coppell 2021 graduate Avani Kashyap, was shocked, to say the least. The Sidekick staffers often dread their meeting coverage assignments, and often find themselves busy on their assignment’s date. Why did this first-year staff writer love meeting coverage so much that she took on as many as she could?

The answer has a lot to do with my career aspirations. I plan to major in international relations and globalization studies. I am passionate about journalism because I find it incredibly important to know what my government is doing and keep it in check as a member of the unofficial fourth branch of government: the press.

Attending these meetings and covering local government gives me the opportunity to learn what governing sounds like. I read agendas today in the hopes that one day I will read court records and legislation. And I watch C-SPAN, yes, but there is much less I can do right now about a vote on the floor of Congress compared to a vote on the floor of the Vonita White Administration Building or Coppell City Hall.

As a younger sibling, I’m used to fighting for people to take me seriously. When I walk into meeting rooms with my Twitter thread in hand and camera slung around my neck, though, I’m not someone who can be ignored; I become someone important, someone who can ask questions of authority figures and receive answers. Instead of Anjali, Aishwarya’s little sister, I’m Anjali Vishwanath, a reporter known to the community (at least, those who follow @CHSCampusNews on Twitter) for reporting daily news.

Follow Anjali (@anjuvishwanath) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.