La Puma Plans Provocative Look at Campus Culture

Nicole Kennedy, Opinion Editor

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There’s nothing like walking into a classroom and seeing the dusty floor littered with the most recent, unopened La Puma.

I hope our 1st distribution of the 2019-2020 school year is greeted with more interest.

When I’m told be a student that he or she has read and enjoyed 1 of my articles published on chslapuma.com, I’m surprised. And yes, we actually do have a website, 1 that few students frequent.

In fact, the La Puma staff works diligently to produce and publish content relevant to our campus and community daily.

In shows like Gossip Girl, school news is at the forefront. But in the real world newspapers are considered a waste of resources, and student journalism, like a tree in the rain forest, is in jeopardy.

Student-operated papers nationwide have seen a decrease in staff, funds, and readership. Students have become accustomed to finding their news on social media or from word of mouth.  Few seem to have the will to dig into the pages of print, to sustain the effort required to make it through a thorough exploration of people, events and ideas.

Columbia University has chopped its journalism school admissions in half due to the “dwindl[ing ]” command for the subject in today’s schools, says The New York Times.

This isn’t just a school system phenomenon, but part of a larger problem. According to the New Yorker, “500 or so dailies went out of business” between 1970 and 2016.

I’ll admit that our recent issues have done little to make us relevant. Rather than pursuing provocative investigation and taking stands on controversial issues, we’ve been playing it safe with trivial reporting of game scores, community events, and other fluff.

This year we hope to be more than a pocket calendar. We will be a source of debate, a starting point for dialogue, and we will exercise our right and responsibility to be the arbiters of campus culture, questioning authority and calling out hypocrisy.

This year, we are preparing to go deep, and sometimes dark, in order to bring to light what has, in the past, gone under the radar. Sometimes the truth can be uncomfortable, even ugly, but we hope the truth resonates with our audience.

We start this deep dive with features on the culture of cheating on our campus, the growing addiction to vaping products among our student body, and the exploitation of after-school athletic programs.

We are lucky to live in California, 1 of the 16 states where the content of student journalism is protected under California Education Code 94367, and we intend to take advantage of this right.

We hope that what we have to say about these and other relevant issues promotes further consideration, questioning, and, perhaps, event action on the part of students, staff and community members.

Here’s to making La Puma relevant again.

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