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Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

SJW2024: Finding my voice through ‘essays’

Editorial page editor Aliza Abidi shares what journalism means to her for Scholastic Journalism Week. SJW is from Feb. 19-23 and continues the tradition of honoring student journalists.
Riya Prasad
Editorial page editor Aliza Abidi shares what journalism means to her for Scholastic Journalism Week. SJW is from Feb. 19-23 and continues the tradition of honoring student journalists.

“Ew, why do you enjoy writing essays?”

My brother, a 2017-20 staff writer for The Sidekick, looked back at me briefly as his fingertips traversed his keyboard, drafting out his soccer coverage.  

Ha, that got his attention, I thought. As a middle schooler and younger sibling, his annoyance was unrelentingly entertaining to me. 

“I’ve told you so many times Aliza,” he said, resuming typing furiously on his laptop. “It’s not an essay. It’s a story

At the time, watching Akif sit on his computer for hours cranking out “stories” seemed beyond useless to me. I couldn’t fathom why he would take time out of his – what it seemed to be – busy high school life to sit there and write. 

Four years later, I joined The Sidekick under his influence. Amidst the half-hearted environment of my academic classes, walking into D115 felt like a shock. 

The patter of fingers dancing along the keyboard of hunched staffers and the constant reminders from leadership teams to stay on deadline, took me aback. The commitment the room contained was not scaled, so why were they so determined for the smooth production of ‘essays’?

I realized, as I was assigned stories, that journalism is not just writing but creating. I saw the production of ideas, perspectives and identity shared between the desks of the D115, and fell in love with these so-called useless ‘essays.’ 

I understood that although I was responsible for writing hundreds of words, I was not just stating information but exploring it. Each interview I conducted provided me with a perspective that I could present, a story I was responsible to tell. I soon realized that journalism is embracing that every story depicted does not stop at my fingertips, but in the hands of my readers. 

I found myself a journalist not just in D115, but wherever I went. I subconsciously began to look for new and unseen perspectives to each story, and took it upon myself to be the one to shed light on it.

Having a voice is what allows me to be a part of my community. Speaking this voice through the lens of something much bigger than myself is what makes me a journalist. 

Now, journalism provides a reason behind my every opinion, ideal, experience and conversation. One that is worthy of a story and narrative, whether it be mine or the community around me.

I am the one now who claps my hands every day during staff announcements and stresses timeliness in columns under the opinion section. I am the one now, who my brother eyes with a “I told you so” smirk as I start my third story this week.

My growth through journalism has made me more receptive to the backgrounds of the people I work with and the process behind innovation. 

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About the Contributors
Aliza Abidi, Editorial Page Editor
Aliza Abidi is a senior and the Editorial Page Editor for The Sidekick. In her free time, she likes to read a variety of fiction novels, lift weights, and watch Studio Ghibli movies. To Aliza, journalism is about bringing all sorts of different opinions and perspectives to light. Opinions and perspectives about the world’s various curiosities and disputes that are created by people with interesting stories underneath; experiences which shape an individual's values. To her, these viewpoints are worth sharing, vibrant and fresh to hear and learn about. Seeing her older brother being able to make an impact by bringing stories and viewpoints to light at The Sidekick inspired her to join, where she is now, helping to make an impact in her community as she helps coordinate the process of publishing works that fulfill her passions and goals. You can contact her at [email protected].
Riya Prasad, Staff Writer
Riya Prasad is a sophomore and a first year staff writer on The Sidekick. She plays badminton with her friends on the weekends and often listens to Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift. Her favorite Lana Del Rey songs are “Salvatore” from the album Honeymoon and “Gods and Monsters” from the album Born to Die-Paradise Edition. Her favorite Taylor Swift songs are “illicit affairs”, “Last Kiss”, and “You’re Losing Me”. She loves reading and her current book is “Gods and Heroes of Ancient Greece’’ by Gustavo Schwab. You can contact her at [email protected].

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