At El Estoque, we express a commitment to diversity starting with our mission statement and extending to all aspects of our publication.
El Estoque strives for all staff members to be dedicated, well-trained, passionate and provide consistent and diverse coverage of all local stakeholders through its student-run website, social media accounts and print news magazine. Its multiplatform content will be relevant, informative and interesting to the audience and attempt to effect positive change. Through strong communication and collaboration, the El Estoque staff will provide a welcoming atmosphere in order to foster strong relationships between reporters and with members of the community. El Estoque will be a trusted open forum, providing unbiased, truthful and accurate content through maintaining high quality standards and professionalism in all interactions. It will exercise the press freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment and California Ed Code 48907 while maintaining a strong ethical code.
Each time someone is interviewed for a story or social media post, their names, ethnicity, gender, age and position within the community are tabulated on our Audits or Social Media Audits tab of our Pitches and Edits spreadsheet. When a source is interviewed twice, their name is highlighted in yellow, and when someone is interviewed three times, their name is highlighted in red, and they are placed on the blacklist, meaning they are not to be interviewed again unless the story absolutely demands it.
As a leader, I believe in striving to interview every single person on campus. A centralized audits system like this ensures that each time a writer searches for a source. They are actively trying to interview someone who we have never interviewed before.
Humankind has always been characterized by its stories. Passed on from generation to generation, it is these stories that have reflected on, critiqued and preserved culture for all of human history. Within in this rich cultural fabric of oral tradition and fables, novels and plays, journalists hold a unique role: to tell the stories that otherwise get lost.
This is a duty that I have kept at the forefront of my mind as I have searched to cover the movements and people at my school that allowed a view of my school and community through a different lens. Be it while pitching, editing or writing stories, we as a publication and I individually strive to not repeat stories and instead look for unique angles, search for unique sources and make El Estoque a forum that covers all aspects of our community. Diversity of thought, experience and background is integral not just to the success of journalism, but to bridging the polarization that is increasingly charachterizing global discourse — or lack thereof.
COVERAGE ABOUT RACE
The national racial reckoning and subsequent resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 compelled me to create a package on Activism. We covered student, teacher and alumni activists to show how, regardless of their platform and ability, there were community members that were doing as much as the could to further this movement.
We published this package during a time when inoculation programs and reopening campaigns had yet to assuage people's fears about COVID-19. As a result, we emphasized the value of all types of activism — from marching on the streets to writing to legislators — to galvanize our community to contribute however they could.
DREAMS COME TRUE
This story delved into the story of a family of Mexican immigrants in my community. Both the parents and the children faced a collection of struggles unique from many who live in my largely affluent, primarily Asian community. I wrote about the financial and decades-long struggles they were undergoing to get the correct type of Visa, the children's frustration at not being able to get a job because they weren't citizens and the constant layer of fear that infused every aspect of their lives.
The Latinx population at my school is very small which is why I felt it was essential to cover the Hernandez family's journey. This story provided a glance into how different students at the same school can live vastly different lives.
THE GOLDEN ERA
Rap music permeates MVHS culture in every sphere, from the pop culture references we make to the song requests we pile onto the DJ at dances. Yet, a majority of the MVHS community knows very little about the Black culture and struggles that have formed that backbone of this now-ubiquitous genre.
I interviewed rap-culture aficionados on campus, including an APUSH teacher, and created an interactive timeline tracing the history of rap music. Through stories like this, I aimed to shed awareness on the struggles that defined a particular aspect of pop culture. I also hoped to curb the appropriation and mindless consumption of a part of pop culture so laden with history and present in our community's discourse.
The Persian community makes up a significant portion of the MVHS community, yet represents yet another sector of students that aren't frequently covered. When I heard about the brand new Persian Club on the announcements, I immediately wanted to learn more about how it was impacting students in the community.
Sitting in on only a few meetings evidenced the joy and excitement that Persian and non-Persian students alike felt at the prospect of playing games, eating food and learning the history of a culture that was usually not represented on campus.
COVERAGE ABOUT GENDER
My school community faced a reckoning with the threats and experiences sexual assault and harassment that students dealt with. Through this story, I was able to amplify the voices and fears of students that are often afraid to speak up out of fear of retribution.
Equally important, however, was the perspective of a third source that I included, who I kept anonymous because of the online death threats he'd received for supporting the #NotAllMen movement, which critiqued the #MeToo movement. By juxtaposing his frustration and qualms with the movement with the quotes from the people speaking out online, I was able to holistically represent my community's reactions.
Our school offers some of the foremost sex education curriculum in the state,. Yet in the four years of classes about contraception and sexual health, no class I was ever in touched on the topic of female --.
In this editorial infused with personal anecdotes, my cowriter and I detailed the impact of neglecting this essential aspect of sexual health on our psyche. We gave a voice to a practice that girls are told to be ashamed of in an effort to empower women like us to feel comfortable in their bodies.
This package was published on the heels of Vice President Kamala's Harris' victory and the seemingly unbreakable glass ceiling she shattered when she won. Within in our own community, there are women that are shattering glass ceilings everyday, from a local entrepreneur that was revolutionizing the dissemination of birth control to the girls that were daring to be one of a tiny fraction of women in AP Physics C classes.
Acknowledging the girls that fight to break boundaries everyday is essential to painting a real picture of the struggles that girls in our community face.
RESPECT TO WAP
The ways that women have turned to music as a form of empowerment have changed throughout history, and I used this article to explore that. I juxtaposed the lyrics of Aretha Franklin's "Respect" with Cardi B's "WAP," a comparison that drew from a popular social media trend of dancing to "WAP" on TikTok to raise awareness about the struggles of women — especially Black women — on their journey to empowerment of their own bodies.
As both a leader and a journalist, I've used every platform I had to amplify the voices of those around me and fulfill my duty as an El Estoque journalist to use my voice to invoke positive change. The pst three years as a student journalist have taught me skills in every sphere, from law and ethics, to design and interviewing to leadership and open-mindedness. They are skills and a duty I plan on taking into my time at Stanford and as I journey into the world as a champion of rights and progress.