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Oct. 8, 2009

The adult role in a student paper

by Warren Zhang, Managing News Editor and Ombudsman
Student editors and writers are the only contributors to Chips stories; we write stories ourselves. However, the Silver Chips adviser also accomplishes several monumental tasks that are essential to the continued success of Silver Chips, and for that, we must recognize the hard work these individuals put forth in the name of student expression.

Ombudsman Warren Zhang
Ombudsman Warren Zhang
Each and every Silver Chips adviser comes to Chips with extensive experience in journalism. They are always English or Journalism teachers at Blair and remain well informed about the events occuring in both Blair and MCPS, essential traits that they must use to do their job at Chips.

The adviser of Silver Chips edits every story that is written for Chips, even those that aren't printed. This teacher must also approve every story that runs in Silver Chips. The adviser also advises the Editors-in-Chief and writing staff, generally through edits and suggestions given to staffers. Additionally, the adviser, along with the Editors-in-Chief, must defend Chips in case the administration has issues with the publication of controversial content. But other than these more formal tasks, the Chips adviser serves as an ambassador of sorts between the student writers of Silver Chips and the teaching staff. The adviser brings up issues that other teachers may have with the paper and also promotes usage of Silver Chips to other staff members. The adviser uses his or her position in the staff to pass along story ideas and breaking news stories to the Silver Chips staff.

Even though the adviser is an integral part of the Silver Chips writing process, Chips still belongs to the students. For example, while the adviser must approve every story and edits every story, the Editors-in-Chief and Managing Editors of Silver Chips play a much larger role in the development of a story. And while the adviser is a vital resource during the story canvassing process, student writers contribute most of the story ideas that get published in Chips. Student writers contribute the vast majority of content and work for each and every issue of the paper. No adviser regime change will alter this.

At the end of last year, Anne Cullen resigned as Chips adviser due to her new job as the Communications Art Program coordinator, which would have been a conflict of interest had she remained on Chips. In her place, we have welcomed Joseph Fanning. Fanning came to Silver Chips from an experienced background in student newspapers and was thus ready and eager to step up to the role of Silver Chips adviser. Readers, rest assured: this transition was smooth and unnoticeable for readers of this paper, and Fanning has proven to be quite the capable adviser for Chips.

A new adviser usually does not affect the way Silver Chips is run and, as such, the replacement of Cullen has barely affected the way we run Chips. That means that you, the readers, will still get the same quality paper every month or so, and each issue will still have the same diverse array of news, features, editorials, opinion, entertainment and sports stores.

That doesn't mean that with a new adviser we canít take this moment as an opportunity to set the bar higher for Chips. Silver Chips has never rested on its laurels and this change gives us an opportunity to reflect on the good and bad of the paper. We remain, as always, open to public feedback. If you don't like the paper's content, tell us and we'll respond. With our new adviser and staffers, we hope to continue our proud tradition of delivering timely, relevant stories to the Blair community.



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