Student journalists get shut down

By

Opinion

December 6, 2018 - 10:10 AM

A copy of the Har-Ber Herald edition that has a controversial story on student transfers within the district. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

“It is a newspaper’s duty to print the news and raise hell,” Chicago Times publisher Wilbur Storey declared in 1861. Those functions are not guaranteed to please everyone. Either is bound to occasionally dismay or infuriate some readers, as every journalist learns. The ones at Har-Ber High School in Springdale, Ark., learned it earlier, and more painfully, than most.

In October, the Har-Ber Herald published a story based on months of investigation by student journalists after five varsity football players transferred to Springdale High School, in the same school district. Students are not allowed to make such moves to play on a different athletic team.

Parents of the students had written letters (obtained by The Herald staff through Freedom of Information Act requests) asking for the transfers for academic reasons. But the student paper interviewed two players who admitted on the record that they switched in pursuit of major college football offers.

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