Kobe Bryant, Coronavirus, Valentine’s Day, and more: the last two weeks on Best of SNO

As this newsletter was written, the windchill at our Minnesota SNO headquarters officially dropped down to -20°F. In other words, we’ve reached the point in the winter where all we want to do is stay inside, bundle up, and read. And what better reading material than Best of SNO submissions! These are some of the best we’ve read over the last few weeks:

How Do You Choose to Remember Kobe Bryant?by Amanda Brauchler, Rock Canyon High School 

Since Kobe Bryant passed away on Jan. 26, social media websites, and our Best of SNO submission vault, have been inundated with expressions of sorrow. Based on the number of stories and eulogies we read, it’s clear that Bryant made his mark on Gen Z. That being said, out of all the submissions we received, only one mentioned a significant part of the basketball legend’s legacy — his felony sexual assault charge. As the piece itself states, while you can revere Bryant’s domination of the NBA and respect his dedication to his daughters, with that “needs to come the nuanced realization that Bryant hurt someone.” Especially in the era of #MeToo, we hope these conversations are occuring in your newsrooms in order to produce comprehensive and balanced coverage. It’s clear that took place at Rock Canyon High School.

Aromantic and Asexual Awareness Week broadens the impact of Valentine’s Dayby Kasey Liu, Carlmont High School

On a lighter note, Valentine’s Day was last week, and with it, lots of corresponding coverage flooded Best of SNO. While we learned about many different ways schools embrace the holiday and picked up some good tips on celebrating without breaking the bank, what we liked about this story is the antithetical angle it takes. By moving past the flowers, boxes of chocolates and romantic dinners, the author shines a light on Aromantic and Asexual Spectrum Awareness Week and those who do not feel any romantic attraction to others. Not only is this topic interesting, it is also a prime example of producing inclusive coverage, in this case surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community.

As 2 cases of new coronavirus confirmed in Southern California, public health measures ramp up worldwideby Kathy Fang and Eric Fang, The Harker Upper School

Over the past few weeks, the death toll from the novel coronavirus has continued to climb. The virus first originated in Wuhan, China, and it’s impacts are now being felt around the globe — including in California. While no cases of the virus have been reported in Santa Clara County, multiple members of the Harker community have ties to China through recent business travel and family. By interviewing these individuals, the authors are successfully able to localize the issue and produce a story that goes beyond simply regurgitating information from national news outlets, something we love to see at Best of SNO.

American Dirt Lacks the True Migrant Experienceby Karen Portillo, Santaluces High School

Many reviews we read at Best of SNO seem to follow a common formula: They only include the perspective of the author, they tend to over-explain the plot of the work, and they are often over-praising. This review challenges those norms. American Dirt, the newest release from Jeanine Cummins which tells the story of a Mexican mother and her son fleeing to America after their family members were killed by a drug cartel, has prompted nationwide controversy. This is mentioned in the article. Latinos have criticized how a white, non-immigrant person could write an entire novel about the struggles of crossing the border without having any experience. Their voices are included in the article. And excessive praise? You won’t find it in the article due to the lack of authenticity and stereotypes used to describe members of the Mexican community that the author points out. By breaking these trends, this article is critical, authentic, and ultimately extremely refreshing.

“They just held so much power over me,” by Bella Grumet, Walt Whitman High School 

In any given week, we read a handful of great long-form Best of SNO submissions. This one, on harassment that students face in the workplace, was a topic we hadn’t seen before. By interviewing three different students who have experienced or witnessed workplace harassment, as well as a professor of women’s and gender studies for an expert perspective, readers are left with a better understanding of how these power dynamics are manipulated and how other students can protect themselves from similar situations.

Read more great stories like these on Best of SNO.