Letter from the Online Editors: November 2019


Charlie Sagner

Left to right: Managing Editor Anna Yuan, Managing Editor Ally Navarrete and Editor-in-Chief Dana Herrnstadt.

By Dana Herrnstadt, Ally Navarrete, and Anna Yuan

It seems cliché to begin our letter with the phrase “In the digital age.” It’s not unique or creative. It’s not sparkling writing. But “in the digital age” has become synonymous with “living in 2019.” The phrase has become a staple of our generation.

In 2017, psychologist Jean Twenge coined a different phrase, “iGen,” referring to Generation Z’s technology-centered culture. Since then, the use of “iGen” colloquially has spread — as has the bandwagon disparaging of our generation as phone addicts.

But “iGen” doesn’t have to come with an automatically negative connotation. Living in the age of the Internet isn’t all Zuckerberg-Amazon-1984. In September, a student at our school assaulted another student during his health class. Not four hours later, we broke the story. We wrote. We posted. We shared.

And you read.

Twenty-four hours later, the story had 2,000 views — and counting.

Yes, the internet is plagued with memes and fake news, but it’s more than just an avenue to watch Vine compilations and funny scenes from The Office. We’re able to spread information and share ideas literally across the globe. Our readership can — and does — extend beyond the Whitman student body.

Since the beginning of this school year, we’ve had a writer investigate the impact of Whitman’s lack of staff diversity. We’ve published a staff editorial pushing for increased transparency from our administration. We’ve reported on a teacher’s silent meditation journey in Thailand, the youth climate strike and internal issues in administering this year’s PSAT. This year, three of our writers have already won SNO (School Newspapers Online) awards, and we’re continuing to publish articles daily.

As a student news site, our aim is not only to inform, but also to emphasize the foundation of who we are: students. With that said, we recognize the importance of communicating perspectives beyond those of our 80-person staff.

That’s why this year, we’re piloting an online initiative; we’ll be creating a section on our website for non-staff students to submit stories for possible publication. One of our goals as a student publication is to bring obscured views to the foreground. We welcome you to submit blogs or opinions discussing qualms with the community, insights on current events or even daily musings.

Writing is about spreading messages. In typical newsroom fashion, we’ll use the era’s latest technology to inform as widely as we can — but we’ll also work to challenge old viewpoints and introduce new ones. So keep us in the back of your mind this year. If you have something to say, write it down. We’ll be listening. So will our readers.


Dana Herrnstadt, Editor-in-Chief

Ally Navarrete, Managing Editor

Anna Yuan, Managing Editor


If you would like to submit an opinion or blog to The Black & White, email it to [email protected]  | Stories should contain 350 words minimum.