Student media deserves just as much respect as mainstream media


Noor Fatima

Student journalists work just as hard as many professional journalists; harder if you consider the course load we have to balance alongside our work. The Sidekick executive editorial page editor Sreeja Mudumby thinks many people don’t respect student journalists despite the work they do.

Sreeja Mudumby, Executive Editorial Page Editor

“Our school has a newspaper?” 

This is a remark I get every time a new issue of our paper, The Sidekick, hits the racks and I am trying to promote it. Everyone knows who the Dallas Morning News is, but what about the paper in our very own school? 

It is obvious that publications such as The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times are established firms that earn profits and are bigger than your local school paper. However, student journalists put just as much time, dedication and professionalism into their work, all by choice and for no income. 

The Sidekick is an elective, meaning we do not have to take this class to meet any of our high school requirements. Everyone joined staff has done by choice, meaning the journalism that we contribute is rooted in passion. 

When we do not get taken seriously as student journalists or get waived off from interviews because “it’s not a big deal,” that is a major sign of disrespect. Why is it that even though we do the same work, we do not get the same respect? 

When I was at The Sidekick booth during schedule pickup to promote the program, everyone walked past us, not even asking what we were. I understand that it is easy to walk by us, but even when I was actively explaining what The Sidekick was, no one bothered to pay attention except for my friends who only listened because I was there. 

When interviewing sources for stories, it is so common for me and my fellow staffers to get ghosted or ignored for interviews. Once or twice can mean busy sources, but when it happens as frequently as it does on staff, the lack of responses we receive  are a clear sign that we are not taken seriously. 

The worst of it all was when we freshly put our issues on racks for people to read, and two people started sword fighting with the papers and dumping them in the trash can.

The amount of work that goes into producing a single story is not something I can put into simple words in a column. It can be discouraging to keep producing content at the standard we do when I witness these inconsiderate actions. However, we do not stop. We keep writing, taking photos and designing. We keep pushing for interviews, hustling after midnight and cancel other commitments to fulfill our duties as reporters. 

Last week was Scholastic Journalism Week, a week of celebrating our own work, and telling our stories after having spent the year telling others’. This year’s theme for scholastic journalism week was amplifying voices, and I hope with The Sidekick’s self-promotion last week, the Coppell community learned just how much we do for them.

We as student journalists ask for nothing in return for the work we do. We don’t earn money or receive GPA boosts for the work we produce. 

A little respect is the bare minimum that we deserve. 

Follow Sreeja (@sreejamudumby) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.