Dear Editor, I'm writing to you on behalf of the numerous comments in "SpeakOut" directed toward the high school paper, the Bulldog Barker, in regards to our teen pregnancy issue. I am writing to clear up any pre-judgments to those who haven't read the article as well as previous criticisms of those who had indeed read it. Our teacher/advisor does a wonderful job of using her good judgment to say what can and cannot be in the newspaper, Every issue has different sections: sports, student life, clubs/activities, and the feature. Many of our everyday activities at high school fall into the other categories listed, leaving a limited amount of ideas to be considered for a feature. A feature is an issue that affects students' lives and is meant to be informational and possibly even controversial. Our past features have covered Sgt. Doyle Noe's experience in Iraq, underage drinking, teenagers suffering with depression, as well as many other topics, merely laying down the facts. That is the category teenage pregnancy falls into. Granted, not everyone will agree with these articles, nor will everyone like what is written. However, we feel as a staff that a good article is one that gets people talking and covers controversial topics such as teen pregnancy.
As feature editor of the Bulldog Barker, I, along with the rest of the staff had a purpose and goal in covering this topic. We were trying to address an unavoidable issue in our school. Teenagers have been pregnant before; it's nothing new. We just decided we'd take a loo'k at their lives. The articles speak for themselves, not condoning teen pregnancy or asking for sympathy towards teen mothers, but they present the facts and show the school and the general public what it's like for these young women. As far as the picture on the front page, that picture always deals with the feature article, so it had to be a picture that went along with the issue. To clear up any false assumptions, that was taken to draw people's attention to the feature page, contrary to popular belief. Also, the girl got parental consent and even approved of the picture herself, willing to allow it to be on the front cover.
In my two years writing for this paper, I've never written something that's received this much attention, negative or positive. Although I wanted to clarify our goals and practices so that our audience may better understand and realize we have good intentions and pure motives. I encourage everyone to read the editorial on page 2 of that issue to see where we as a staff stand on the issue. Also, the student comments are interesting and bring up very good points on the matter as well. Editorials present opinions; stories present facts. The reader can take what they want from the story, but it just presents the material to its audience.
Sincerely, Meredyth Moyers Feature Editor: Bulldog Barker