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Under threat? Concerns swirl about student journalism's future at Mountain View High after teacher is abruptly reassigned

Original post made on May 15, 2023

Abrupt changes to Mountain View High School's journalism program have some students and community members questioning whether administrators are attempting to exert greater control over students' news stories.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, May 15, 2023, 1:54 PM

Comments (6)

Posted by roaksinri
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2023 at 5:20 pm

roaksinri is a registered user.

It looks like not much has changed between High School administrators and high school newspapers since I was on my H.S. newspaper back in the Watergate era. Inspired by the journalism of the time, we emulated new journalism that dug deeper and exposed institutional and sometimes embarrassing individual, malfeasance within the school system. Administrators hated that and continue to do so. They must have a manual- we too received the "Let's be uplifting-Rah Rah" speech. Looks like the manual is being followed to a "T'- cancel Journalism classes, get rid of the "Troublemaker" teacher/Advisor, replace them with an inexperienced tool of the Administration, and avoid all public input and making public statements under the guise of "Personnel privacy" and just wait for the news cycle to play out- everything will be forgotten in a couple of weeks. Yet public schools and their staffs are held up as paragons of virtue...

Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 15, 2023 at 8:09 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

Anyone who follows well established school papers like the Oracle Web Link knows that the student paper is one of the best real life examples of career training, one hard to replicate through new CTE classes.

The school paper operates in a real-world setting with a real-world audience, requiring its student staff to learn about real legal and ethical issues. They experiment with new medias for communication like podcasts and social media. They practice organizational leadership through their well-defined staff roles. People should not underestimate the invisible role of existing student culture and campus history that inspires young people to do such high-quality work.

True that many of these skills will be found in the MVLA newly suggested combined yearbook-journlism digital design course, but why mess with something that is both beautiful and working? And no, yearbook/digital design, while technically complex, they are not journalism. The new course will not service the public school mission of preparing students to be citizens in a healthy democracy dependent on a thriving independent and well-trained press. The Oracle teaches students both democracy and Adobe Suite, will a CTE future be just be Adobe Suite? If so, then all of us as members of a civic society have some things to be concerned about.

Posted by ST
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on May 16, 2023 at 12:46 am

ST is a registered user.

Excellent reporting by Zoe Morgan. Great article.

Posted by Local News Junkie
a resident of another community
on May 17, 2023 at 6:50 am

Local News Junkie is a registered user.

What @ST said! Great to have such robust local reporting by Zoe Morgan.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 20, 2023 at 1:52 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

BTW - Reporter Morgan is a product of the journalism program of Los Altos High, and also interned at the Los Altos local weekly paper, before studying the profession in college.

Posted by Mateo
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 21, 2023 at 11:55 am

Mateo is a registered user.

As one of Oracle's editors-in-chief (2018-19), I'm extremely disappointed in how these changes are being handled by the administration, and their scattershot rationales come across as absurd.

Reading the coverage of this story it seems clear that regardless of motives, the administration is not supporting student journalism at MVHS at all. When there is a good advisor and a well-taught and experienced staff, there should be no reason for the administration to exercise prior review.

The administration's course catalog machinations sound like they will kneecap Oracle, hurting the future of this award-winning publication. Oracle was an extremely formative experience for me, CTE certified or not, that taught me more applicable skills than any other course or activity I encountered at MVHS.

The administration should work with Oracle students and their advisor, to ensure that journalism is an option for incoming students. Instead of actively impeding student journalists' work, the administration should stick to responding to requests for interviews and leave it at that.

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