Ben Editorial


This is my final issue on the KO News, and I thought I’d use my last editorial to reflect on my time at the KO News and—maybe—to give some advice. When I signed up for journalism in my freshman year, I had no idea what the KO News was. I just thought it might be a fun and interesting class. In S-110, I met Mr. Kyff—one of the kindest and most considerate people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Mr. Kyff helped me break out of my self-imposed bubble and adapt to a new unfamiliar school. However, I do confess that for the first few classes, I called him “Mr. Kiff” by accident. I’m sorry about that, Mr. Kyff.

I remember that when I was a freshman, I subconsciously idolized the Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editors. At the time, they were Ben Waldman, Kate Betts, and Gwenyth McDonald. They seemed so mature—as if they had their lives figured out. Now that I’m in their place, I realize that there isn’t a special maturity conferred by “being the leader of the paper.” I don’t feel very different from my freshman self. For example, on one of the recent issues, I misspelled the word volleyball, while editing one of the Sports pages. Typos are indiscriminate. No matter how proficient or eloquent you think you are, they’ll get you. That’s something the KO News has taught me.

I hadn’t really realized that my tenure was coming to an end until I had to consider who would comprise the next staff. I remember gathering outside a classroom in Seaverns a few years ago. The person before you in line opens the door and leaves. You can tell if they got the position they wanted by their body language. There is rarely talking in the hall. For three years, I was on the side of the table facing Mr. Kyff or Ms. Schieffelin and the Head Editors. This year, there was a strange role-reversal. To be honest, it felt odd to hold this authority.

Vested with it, nevertheless, I tried—along with the other senior editors—to create a successful, efficient, and creative staff for next year. We had to make some difficult decisions—as I’m sure every staff has to do—but we made them all in an effort to what was best for the paper.

By working on the KO News, I think everyone gets the impression that the paper itself is the most important thing. We set aside our personal issues to make sure we produce the best possible issue every month. Of course, we make mistakes, but I think this striving—the determination to be better—is what makes the paper successful.

I would encourage everyone to at least consider joining the KO News. Even if you don’t take journalism and become a formal editor, you can still write for the Opinions section. Sharing your views on the world creates healthy school-wide dialogue. Often times, after someone writes a particularly controversial article, I hear people talking about that topic. Sometimes, they are moved to voice their own opinion in the paper. I think this is the exact purpose of the KO News—to spur discussion and to inform.

Writing for the paper teaches you a lot of things. Firstly, and most obvious, is how to communicate. These communication skills manifest in many different ways. Writing articles requires you to be concise and accurate and to prioritize the most important information. Crafting interview questions, likewise, requires eloquent communication.

I also think that writing for the paper teaches confidence. Rather quotes for an articles forces you to interact with the community around you. It forces you to talk to people with whom you otherwise would never meet. For people just entering KO, writing for the paper is a great way to get acquainted with your fellow students and teachers and with the school in general.

However, it would be irresponsible of me to paint writing for the KO News as all fun and games. Most of the time, it’s hard work. During a Baird Journalism Dinner a few years ago, Mr. Kyff said, “being the advisor for the KO News requires a lot of these,” holding up a bottle of aspirin. The KO News causes a lot of headaches, but in the end, we all know it’s worth it.

As I leave the KO News, I’m confident that the next staff will continue to build the paper—to improve it and to meet every challenge. So to any freshmen reading this, I encourage you to write, to expand your bubble, to engage with the KO community around you.

So, it’s with sadness that I say goodbye to the KO News right now but with optimism that I look forward to its bright, bright future to come.