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Student Journalists Test the Waters at Harvard Journalism Conference

Emanne Khan '19
In 2018, reliable news is more important than ever. As the rise of social media has correlated with the rise of “fake news,” defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “false stories that appear to be news, usually created to influence political views,” media companies and journalism outlets are forced to grapple with how they will address these industry-wide changes. Investigative journalism is a timely response to the phenomenon, and Derryfield’s own Lamplighter is no exception.

Advised by English teacher Ms. Burdette and led by Editor-in-Chief Max Karpawich ‘19, Lamplighter Newspaper, one of the oldest publications on campus, has rebranded itself as Lamplighter Magazine. News Editor Julia Tilton ‘20 notes that “the shift from newspaper to magazine has enabled us and our writers to tackle more challenging subject matter, and to craft longer, more well-written pieces.” As part of their new approach, Lamplighter’s staff is tackling a range of issues that affect both the School and broader communities, from Derryfield policies to American politics.

On Saturday, December 1, five members of the
Lamplighter staff traveled with Ms. Burdette to Harvard for a conference hosted by renowned university publication The Crimson. As for the events of the day, Julia recalls that “the workshops I attended at the event were both challenging and informative, and the students I had the chance to talk with offered great advice and feedback. I left the conference with lots of new ideas for improving Lamplighter’s editing process, as well as with strategies to keep readers connected with print in an increasingly digitized environment.”

The conference culminated in a surprise competition put forth by the
Crimson editors, who challenged the 75 student journalists in attendance to craft a news story on a fictional high school soccer cheating scandal in no more than 45 minutes. The students were given a two-minute prompt and quote sheet, and Julia says that “I began my article by outlining the ideas I hoped to convey, and then I dove into the writing process, careful to address both sides of the story.” Her attention to detail and emphasis on impartiality clearly paid off, as she took home the win.

We are living in an exciting time for journalism, and the future is bright for Derryfield’s student writers. Look out for the first-ever edition of Lamplighter Magazine in January!
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