The atmosphere across the United States has been politically charged lately, to say the least. From President Donald Trump launching an attack killing Iranian general Qasem Soleimani on Jan. 3 to the Senate impeachment trial, it seems that conversations about politics have become practically unavoidable.
While both of these events took place on a national level, we’ve seen student journalists doing a great job approaching them head-on from more unique local angles.
These are some of the best we’ve read over the last few weeks:
Impeachment reverberates locally, by Noah Orloff, St. Louis Park High School
We don’t come across podcast submissions often for Best of SNO, but this one checks off all the boxes in terms of elements we typically look for. It is interview-based, the audio is clear, it contains a proper intro and outro, it is an appropriate length, and the transitions between the different audio clips are seamless. From a non-technical perspective, the podcast breaks down the impeachment process with the help of a social studies teacher and presents a variety of different reactions from multiple student interviews, providing both an educational and topical experience for listeners.
Students feel the impact of current state of government, by Calen Moore, Seward County Community College
As the author of this piece makes evident to readers, the population demographics around Seward County Community College, in southwest Kansas, are unique. Many residents living in the area are Hispanic or farmers, two demographics that have been targeted by the Trump administration for vastly different reasons. In the author’s own words, it’s the perfect “pocket of cultural clash.” By including interviews with an avid Trump supporter, a Trump critic, and a student unaware of the current political climate, the different sides of this cultural clash are well represented in a balanced, unbiased way.
Iranians deal with the effects of Trump’s actions, by Khalid Kishawi, Carlmont High School
Living in the United States, it’s easy for news coverage to be written and analyzed from a Western perspective. This piece combats that norm. From speaking to three different Iranians living in the Bay Area, topics such as cultural site destruction, xenophobia, economic warfare, and digital insensitivity (AKA World War III memes) are brought to light, challenging readers to reconsider the far-reaching effects of the killing of Qasem Soleimani.
Looking back: Changes in the Selective Service System, by Amelia Stevens, Iowa City West High School
Given the events of the last month, teenagers are talking about the probability of World War III or the re-implementation of a national draft. What we love about this piece that touches on these topics is that it’s creative. By digging deep into their newspaper archives to when President Jimmy Carter reactivated the Military Selective Service Act, the author is able to compare the opinions of students in the 1980s with students today — something we definitely haven’t seen before at Best of SNO.
Integration of memes and politics, by Anvitha Reddy, Coppell High School
We received a lot of Best of SNO submissions about World War III memes, most of them opinion pieces taking a side on whether the memes are culturally insensitive, or whether they are a humorous coping mechanism for members of Gen-Z to turn to in the midst of political turmoil. This story takes a different approach. Instead of choosing a side, the author focuses on the inherent nature of memes which often blur what’s fact and what’s fiction. They form a coherent argument around how memes have become a substitution for real news and often perpetuate a climate or misinformation and fear, all without letting their emotions get the best of them.