DOI is not PR
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As I’m sure you very well have noticed by now, the DOI issues that have come out recently have looked significantly different than they have in previous years. If you happened to open the issues, I’m sure you saw that the content was different as well. Less fluff, more stuff, as I like to put it. Not all of our readers have been totally cool with that.
This piece is in response to the comments that I, along with many other staff members, have recently received about our work. This is quite similar with what is going on in the professional media right now. In our world today, news organizations as a whole have been subjected to a great deal of hate and mistrust. People tend to write news off as “fake” if it isn’t a topic people want talked about or expresses a different opinion from what they believe.
This is my attempt at clarification. Hopefully you’ll see that everything that is done by DOI is done for a purpose. Here is our purpose.
Journalism is not exactly a new concept; it’s actually been around since the 1700s, but for some reason, we are always getting mixed up with other professions. This includes, but is not limited to, public relations. Someone in PR has the job of endorsing whoever they work for and maintaining a positive image for their audience. Let me clarify this now — Drops of Ink is not PR.
Yes, we are a school publication whose staff members attend LHS, but we are not at all responsible for making the school look good. Things happen here. Kids send nudes to each other and cheat on tests and drink alcohol and take Adderall, but things also happen that are more significant than what goes on inside our small Libertyville bubble.
Sexual assault is real and the lack of equality between men and women is still ever-so present. There is racism and bullying and so much more that goes on that we don’t even notice. These are not “biased” opinions; these are actual things that actually happen.
We don’t make these things up, and we don’t exist to cause trouble or criticize the school. We, as the staff of DOI, simply feel that the things that don’t get talked about in a school setting are some of the most important things — the ones that should be talked about.
If you tilt your head down a bit, you will see our editorial policy. Not all of it, of course, simply the part that falls under the header “Purpose.”
Although our purpose is short and not terribly specific, these are the words our staff follows–nay–lives by. The first part, detailing the “student-written” aspect, is completely 100 percent true. Students on DOI write, edit, and create every single part of our magazine and website. Personally though, my favorite part of the policy is the word “service.” Let me explain.
The word “service” can be taken to mean many things. I find it to mean that everything we do and write and distribute to the public is there for a purpose. We act as a service, not in the aspect of promoting anyone or anything, but to inform.
Upholding this purpose is something we pride ourselves on. To remain as unbiased and as truthful as we can, Drops of Ink staff members are not allowed to write about something they are a part of. This is called conflict of interest. That means that I could not write about a club I am in or a sport I (don’t actually) play. We do this to remain as objective as possible, which we always try our best to be in news, feature, and sports stories.
As for opinion pieces, those are very different. We have staffers write about political views, experiences they have gone through, and other values and beliefs they may have. These are always always always specified as opinion pieces, though. Most of the opinions stories that you see are written by one staff member, such as this one, and their opinion certainly does not reflect the thoughts of the whole staff. However, staff editorials are reflective of our staff. We hold a big class meeting led by a designated writer (whose opinions are not in the story) and everyone in the class gets to have their say.
Now, back to the “service” thing. In the past, DOI has been thought of as “fluffy,” and while we do hope to entertain you lovely readers, we also want you to know about things that matter.
Heck, just this year, DOI has helped to permanently abolish “bathroom bucks,” and on an even larger scale, we have helped inspire a class to create a sexual assault awareness week at LHS.
Our stories have informed readers that whatever they are going through, they are not going through alone. We make a difference. I know we do, because DOI has made a difference in my life. I just hope we’ve made a difference for you too.