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A short wish list for Santa from your journalism students

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by Cyndi Hyatt

Dear Santa,

I hope this letter finds you well.  I’m not sure what the COVID-19 cases look like up at the North Pole, but I would hope that you, Mrs. Claus, the reindeer and the elves have been maintaining social distance and wearing your masks (unlike too many of my fellow Americans).

I imagine you have had to make some serious modifications to your workshop for toy making.  Hey, if you are down to 50 percent capacity in the factory, we could all be in for a big letdown this year. (I’m thinking this could be a great story, though…)

santa claus chocolate figurine
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

But that’s not why I am writing you today.

This year has been terrible, as you well know, but I have a short wish list for this holiday that would cheer me (and a lot of my fellow journalists) up a lot.  If you could even fill one of these asks I would be super-grateful.  Some of my wishes may take a lot of creative thinking and maybe even strong-arming to make happen, but you’ve got a lot on your side:  magic and clout.  

Please know, Santa, that I am not a selfish person; everything I am asking for is not just for me – just trying to say I want to share the holiday goods.  And what’s the worst you can do?  Say no? 

  1. I would like you to bring an end to the term “fake news” in 2021. Frankly, I am sick of hearing it and I’m not really sure what it means.  I do know that it is language to demoralize and vilify honest student journalists like myself.  What I do every day is based on the desire to tell a true story.  I use a code of ethics and the First Amendment as my guides.  I don’t lie or fabricate what I write.  Sure, sometimes people don’t agree with what I have written, but by no means is it fake.  Jeez!  Can you do something about that term, Santa?
  2. Sometimes my principal wants to see what we students are writing or producing ahead of time because he is afraid it may make our school look bad.  Can you please send him a copy of the Principal’s Guide to Scholastic Journalism and a copy of the Tinker case?  He’s a nice guy but he doesn’t know squat about what my rights and responsibilities as a student journalist.  And maybe he will back off some once he actually reads these documents and realizes their importance.
  3. Do you have access to anything that opens people’s eyes and minds?  If so, I would like you to give a vial (or whatever that may come in) to all the state legislators in the nine states that have active New Voices campaigns running.  Maybe they can then be able to see the value of a protected free student press and know that with a trained and able adviser, student journalists can be trusted with First Amendment freedoms.
handwritten people woman bed
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I said I would keep my list short, but I have one more wish…

  • Can you score me an interview with President-elect Biden?  That would make me soooo popular at school and may enhance my chances of winning Student Journalist of the Year.

Thanks, Santa, for reading my letter.  Stay well – stay masked.

Sincerely,

Stu Dentpress

Freedom Grove, PA

PS – You may want to lay off those cookies and milk this year.  Obesity is a risk factor for COVID-19.

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