GOODBYE TO Eboni Ellinger Co-Editor-in-Chief
Amanda Penwarden Co-Editor-in-Chief
Celina Robinson Photography Editor
Desmond Smith Sports Editor
Journalists are not pretty. They aren’t the blonde-haired, blue-eyed damsels of the music world who can blast a note that would make Whitney Houston jealous. They are not the tall, dark, handsome and muscular Babe Ruths and Jackie Robinsons whose faces appear on cereal boxes. They are not the tall, skinny dancers who bring audiences to tears with their physical interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. No, journalists are people awake at 3 a.m. trying to make text columns the same width on their page layout. Journalists are crying because they cannot figure out the correct HTML code to make a table for their online paper’s web site. Journalists are the ones getting wrinkles as they stare at a camera trying to turn the flash off. No. Journalists are not pretty. With stress wrinkles and hips full of midnight snacks, they aren’t too visually appealing. But being a journalist was all I ever dreamed about. When I was told the print paper would be retired, I cried a little. I loved this. I loved all of this. And I wished, hoped and prayed other people would feel the same. I wanted for others to see the hours spent reading, re-reading and re-re-reading for grammar mistakes. I wanted for people to squeal as they saw the neat photographs displayed across the pages. This was a tradition. It was a history older than my parents. And my parents are pretty old. Frankly, when I was told that the Panther Pride would be no more, I was in denial and even at the moment of writing this, I am still in denial. By laying this newspaper to rest, it meant putting myself to rest. I am not ready to say goodbye to this. At least, I think. But I know that it is from this parting with Panther Pride that I can truly be able to make a big leap into becoming the most unpretty journalist there is. I know it’s weird to fantasize about being up at 3 a.m. working on a new article while binging on off-brand Coke and candy. It was with scribbling in my note pad that I learned there is more to school than football and cowboy boots. It was in the newsroom each and every one of us had a story to be told. It was with Panther Pride that I made my mark in history. And though it is a small mark, it adds on to the much larger small marks made by the dozens and dozens of journalists before me. And I am speaking for myself as well as them, when I say, farewell Panther Pride.
God made me a technologically savvy baby. So, when asked to write a column about what I would miss about the print paper, my first question was, “What if I don’t particularly like the print?” Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and I love newspaper, but I am so on-board with putting everything on the wonderful world-wide interweb. The world is changing. People with smart phones check their phones an average of 150 times a day. Now think beyond phones. Laptops, tablets, work computers, TV are all sole sources of attention for the average person. Why wouldn’t you want to find your news online, at the click of a button? It’s so much more convenient, and not to mention timely. While it takes an unreasonable amount of time to walk down the sidewalk, pick up the paper, walk back inside, sit down, fumble through to the right section, swim through all the ads and find what you’re looking for, Internet readers can find the same info in seconds. Not only is it faster to get to, it’s also available sooner. Photographers can upload pictures immediately after a game, reporters can post election results right after they come out. School newspapers typically come out every six weeks. By the time it gets designed, edited, re-edited, sent to press and distributed, what’s the point? The majority of Midlothian students do not take to reading Panther Pride with much interest. We’ve seen the piles of unwanted newspapers floating around classrooms. The truth is, high school students spend more time on their phones (even though it is against school policy) than reading Panther Pride. The solution: stick the news where their eyes already are. If I haven’t convinced you to switch yet, at least open your mind up to the positives of online. Color. Brighter, bigger, as much as you want. Design. We can virtually create anything our skills allow. Scroll-over photos, interactive tables, links to other stories and endless possibilities. More. More. More. With the Internet able to hold unquantifiable amounts of information, we can give you every detail to every story. I could go on and on about what online news can do for you, but you have to be willing to accept the change. Journalism isn’t a dying field, it’s a changing field.
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye... It’s true. The sad day has come, and it’s time to say goodbye to the good ol’ newspaper (and I finally have an excuse for a “Sound of Music” reference). Well, time to say goodbye to the physical newspaper. We will still spread the word about what is happening around school on our website. You can either jump with joy or sigh sarcastically about the newspaper still existing, I do not care. I still plan to write stories I am sure about 85 percent of the student body will never read. (Kudos to you 15 percent who do kinda/sorta read the newspaper. I am grateful.) At first, newspaper was not what I expected. To be honest I thought I would just be taking pictures of events and not really have to talk to people. Wrong. Unlike photojournalism class, all my pictures needed a “who, where, what, why and how,” and that included communication with other living beings. On newspaper staff, I have learned new skills that may pay off in the future. I am glad newspaper is continuing and improving, but I am going to miss the print paper. I’m not really losing anything. My stories and pictures will still be published, but it is not the same. It’s just that there is something fulfilling about holding a fresh issue and getting to see a picture you took on the cover. It feels so professional, and I get this stupidly prideful feeling in my chest when I see my stuff in print. When I publish something online, that feeling never comes. Maybe it is because everyone and their mother can put something online. With print, only me and other staff members could publish because we put in the time and effort. There are also advantages to online as well. Instead of being just a school newspaper, we hope to become a news outlet for the whole community. Granted this probably will not happen for a few years since our staff is so small and we are still working out the kinks on how we operate. We can also reach more people, and the fact that it is online appeals to you yung’ens (or at least it is suppose to). In the end, even without print, I still get to do what I enjoy, and I can not wait to see where Mrs. Kidder and future staffs take the newspaper. On that note, I shall finish how I started. So long, farewell, Auf Weidersehen, goodbye.
Goodbye Panther Pride. I will miss all of the staffs and the variety of personalities that have contributed to this newspaper. All the stresses, successes and strife from newspaper have left a special spot in my heart filled with memories. I will miss the meaningless life conversations with my homie, Gabriel Porter. Our conversations made us think we had life’s answers. However, our final result to each question was, “Naaaah”. I will miss the many jokes Kayli Jones cracked on people, including myself. Most of all, I will miss the awkward interviews I had with people who didn’t know what to say. You people need to learn how to put words together that express your thought or point of view. But seriously, the experience of being a staff member on Panther Pride taught me that students at this school do care about newspaper, because some people criticize it fairly and others ignorantly. It’s easy to criticize someone’s craft, but it is another thing to actually do it. So haters please stay on the sidelines and just enjoy what we do and what we have accomplished. Being on staff has taught me many life lessons. Panther Pride taught me to be on time, because I am the master sensei when it comes to procrastination. Evidently, I learned that lesson countless times from staying after school just finishing my sports story in time at the end of almost every deadline week. I have learned to never take “no” for an answer in certain situations. I have learned to be prepared. And lastly, do not be afraid to meet new people. As a senior, I am especially sad to see Panther Pride go because I feel like every aspiring journalist who comes here needs to go through the experience of Panther Pride. The stress of trying find one person out of 2500 for a quote for your story due at 5:00 and it’s 4:53. The ugly stares teachers gave while you ask to borrow a student out of their classroom for 45 seconds. And of course, the tradition of staff members getting at each other’s throats because of misunderstanding or wrong pictures or simply out of frustration. Goodbye, Panther Pride. You were exactly what I needed.
Published on May 20, 2014