Please, expose our biases

Emily Chwa, Editor-in-Chief

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Photo Illustration by Lucia Bosacoma

Who would win in a fight: a giant squid or a sperm whale?

Easy, the whale. Tentacles are no match for a mammal the size of a 16-wheeler.

The math or English department?

The math department, of course. Taking a TI-Nspire to the head hurts way more than a flimsy House on Mango Street.

A student newspaper or a few high schoolers?

Now, this answer requires some deeper explanation.

In the home-stretch of my three-year Torch career, I can confidently say this year’s issues have proven themselves to be the most controversial. Whether it be sarcastic jabs overheard in the hallway, criticisms said directly to my face or the literal urination on the newspaper, our readers’ responses haven’t exactly been bursting with admiration.

For the most part, these reactions are aimed at the perceived biases in our content.

An editorial advocating for feminism? Duh, the Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor are both girls for the first time in 9 years. A column bashing demeaning humor? Jeez, grow some thicker skin. An article exposing microaggressions? You’ve got to be kidding.

I’ll admit that the Torch’s editorials and many of our columns revolve around social justice and equality, but the opinions section of newspapers are meant for writers to express their personal views. Ours just happen to be more liberal.

The staff members of the Torch adamantly stand by their work, a quality in any great journalist. However, my beaming pride that accompanied every publication day started to dim after all the backlash. So much work was put into producing every issue, and the thought of it all going unappreciated made the lump in my throat grow with every comment.

Yet soon, under the supervision of Torch’s wise adviser Mr. Halpern, I was taught backlash is good because it means we’ve raised an important issue, forcing conversations to take place. But more importantly, he made me realize the power that engaged readers have to elevate the newspaper.

Unhappy with the content we’re publishing?

Write a letter to the editor.

We revel in the opportunity to have our voices heard, and you deserve to have yours heard too. Newspapers are a product of the First Amendment, and exercising freedom of speech isn’t only for journalists.

Why limit your witty criticism to the ears of your peers, when it can be available to the same audience we have? The liberal commentary of our newspaper exists because no columnists are representing the other side. React to our content, introduce some new content, tear our content to shreds. Put yourself on the line, just like all the writers you pounce at do every issue. If you truly stand by the critiques you’re stating, that shouldn’t be a problem. You submit it, we’ll publish it (if it’s school-appropriate).

One more condition: no anonymity. Our names and pictures go on the bylines printed atop all our columns, so it only seems fair that you sign your name at the bottom of the letter.

Besides, while your opinion is confined to simply jeering with your friends, waiting to catch me in the hallway or ripping down a poster, we’re reaching thousands of readers.

And we’re winning.

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Please, expose our biases