Tailoring content to our readers

April 27, 2012, 12:30 p.m. | By Claire Sleigh | 12 years, 2 months ago

Silver Chips changes stance on college coverage

The Silver Chips ombudsman is the liaison between the paper and the Blair community.

If you flip through an issue of Silver Chips from the past couple years, you'll find one topic suspiciously missing: what Blazers do once they graduate Blair.

Ombudsman Claire Sleigh Photo courtesy of Tolu Omokehinde.

It's a funny subject to be missing in a high school paper, because as high school students, we are constantly challenged to consider what lies in our future. We will make a variety of different decisions about our lives after high school - we may choose to attend a two or four year college or take a job straight out of school. While these considerations vary from person to person and are frequently stratified among groups, the question of what to do in the future is important for all Blazers.

For years, the editorial staff at Silver Chips has considered stories about college to be taboo, reasoning that not everyone goes to college and that underclassmen would be too far removed from the college process to be particularly interested in the subject. We try to write stories that appeal to everyone, but not everyone continues on to higher education.

But with more and more people going to college, and degrees becoming increasingly necessary for high paying careers, it's time to reevaluate the assumption that college coverage has no place in Chips. Seventy-four percent of last year's senior class went on to attend either two year or four-year colleges.

As Ombudsman, I visited several English classes in the past couple of weeks to get student input on the college question. The results were different than expected, with a high percentage of underclassmen asking for more college information.

With this in mind, the Silver Chips editors have been more active about putting college information in the paper. This issue, we featured two stories about college, the first a review of schools in Maryland and the second tailored specifically to athletes who are considering recruiting.

The significance of these two stories is that they take a subject that is of importance to many high school students, and give it a narrow scope. In this way, we can continue our college coverage in future editions and will be able to cover the topic from different angles in each issue, thereby serving more of our readers.

It is important that Silver Chips continues to talk about a variety of post-high school activities because we still have the same worry that our editors did in the past: not everyone goes to college, and not everyone goes to the same type of college. We strive to embrace Blair's diversity when we include stories in the newspaper, which we can maintain through a conscientious effort to be balanced. Including an opinion piece on Harvard vs. Yale would be ridiculous, not to mention rude.

Our goal is to talk about college carefully and to include a mix of stories from issue to issue.

That being said, our aim is not to become the Career Center. They are far better placed to answer most any question when it comes to college and career opportunities. However, what we can do is provide concise advice about specific issues, drawn from real sources and research. It isn't that college will be the main focus of every issue; rather, stories about college will no longer be considered taboo.

Email the Ombudsman at silver.chips.ombudsman@gmail.com with comments, questions or suggestions.

Tags: College World Series ombudsman Claire Sleigh

Claire Sleigh. I love crew. Silver Chips should cover it. More »

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