Welcome back to the Register Forum for its 128th year! We are excited to see the paper grow and change, just as it has during our time at CRLS. Though each of us have only been on the paper for 1/32 of its existence, the changes that have come throughout these past three years have been immense. Our biggest change—one we believe will define the next era of the paper—is last year’s development of our website, registerforum.org. While we will always continue to print our editions, this digital platform provides us with the opportunity to not only expand the reach of our content, but to deepen our contributors understanding of modern journalism.
Journalism today is not the journalism that our grandparents, parents, or even older siblings grew up consuming. It is diverse in both its coverage and its creators, and the public has benefited greatly from that progress. The Register Forum, unfortunately, has yet to reach this diversity.
“Diversity” is a broad word, often used to cover up ugly truths. We are a diverse newspaper staff in terms of gender as well as age. We cover everything from the School Committee to the Patriots to North Korea, and we utilize several different platforms to communicate these stories. We are made up of writers (some of whom find interest in politics, sports, or movies), but also photographers, copyeditors, designers, and illustrators. This expansion of our club is a recent endeavor, one which we will continue to pursue this year.
Yet, we are far from being racially diverse. Of the roughly 54 staff members we had at the beginning of last school year, approximately three members were black. In a school where 30.2% of the school identifies as African American, only 5% of the newspaper is. There is no excuse.
Last year we published an editorial dedicated solely to this issue, and conversations addressing it have been ongoing since before our freshman year. While we don’t mean to diminish these important conversations and articles, words—both written and spoken—mean little.
This year, we want to do more than have lofty conversations about increased “diversity” and “outreach.”
We hope to work with the Black Student Union, whose videos last year made us, and the entire school community, consider the ways we inadvertently perpetuate racism. We are going to work with all English teachers, regardless of the classes or levels they teach, to help us recruit members who may not have heard of the paper otherwise.
We are going to work with Student Government to discuss ways we can rearrange future Club Days in order to make them more accessible.
We are increasing the ways we define journalism, past words and print, into multimedia, graphic design, and video production.
By increasing our editorial staff this year, we’re hoping to increase the accessibility of the paper, so it’s not a requirement to come only after school.
This is our introduction to this new year of the Register Forum not because we want to fill some quota or feel relieved of our guilt.
When the makeup of our staff is disproportionate to that of the student body, our paper is blatantly inaccurate. We don’t cover things that need to be covered, we don’t interview people we could have interviewed, and we do not represent the school as it should be represented.
Any newspaper’s primary goal is telling the truth, and we’re only telling half of it. This year, we want to tell it all.
This piece also appears in our September 2018 print edition.