Journalist of the Year Portfolio

Comparison: "why?" statement

Comparison: "Why?" statement

Here's a side by side comparison of the initial and final versions of the February 2018 magazine's opening statement. The goal of this statement was to establish an unbiased and properly contextualized lens for readers. However, the initial unedited version needed to be articulated with less opinions and a more reader-friendly, balanced approach.

Unedited version

Often times, the media is accused of monetizing controversy. With easy, grab-n-go information raking in profit and ever-hungry consumers chomping away at their feeds, it has become easy to abuse shock value, and it has become easy for the lines of what must be covered and what will be covered to be blurred.

In the past, Focus has been accused of losing sight of this line, covering homosexuality, the Black Lives Matter movement—things one might say are topics that are covered for the sole purpose of receiving backlash. Now, the word transgender is plastered on the pages of this magazine, and it begs the question — why?

Our duty as journalists is to use our platform to inform, educate and incite conversations that will allow our readers to reach their own conclusions, and we feel that a topic such as this need to be further examined by our 10600 Preston Rd community.

The opinions of those we interviewed do not necessarily represent our own views. This magazine was not made to influence anyone one way or another. This magazine was not made to attack one side or another. As editors of this magazine, we aren’t trying to change your opinion or stance on this topic. This magazine isn’t advocacy. We, like our readers, just want to know what’s going on. We are simply presenting the stories and the facts behind those stories regarding a transgender population that is becoming more prominent in our society. A population that is bringing radical change to our politics, our sciences and our schools. It is our hope that readers will reach their own informed conclusions and develop their own views in respect of trans people.


final version

We know what you’re going to say.

Why us? 

Why now? 

Why gender identity? Many people believe journalists live for shock value — writing about a topic for the sheer purpose of keeping readers riled up. 

In the past, publications here have been accused of doing that very thing: reporting on homosexuality, the Black Lives Matter movement, the ambiguities of sexual aggression, among others — topics that are stymied in backlash. 

Now, we explore gender identity — what it is, what it brings forth and its implications on our society and school. 

If you take offense to taking on this topic, consider this: our duty as journalists is to inform — inciting conversations that will allow readers to reach their own conclusions. 

We believe this complex topic and its implications on campus can no longer be ‘the elephant in the room.’    

What’s the point? The goal of this publication is not to influence, to attack or to push forward opinions on our readership.     Our goal is simply to educate — to equip our community with the facts necessary to draw independent, individual conclusions. 

It’s not our goal to change your opinion or stance on the topic of gender identity. Just like our readers, we want to be educated and informed enough to develop our own opinions. 

In these 28 pages, we will share the stories and present the facts of the transgender population that is becoming more prominent in our society — a population that, by its very nature, brings radical change to our politics, to our social systems and to schools like our own.

THIS IS RELEVANT. From the Texas Privacy Act known as the ‘Bathroom Bill’ to President Trump’s transgender military ban and Danica Roem’s recent election to the Virginia state legislature, the growing prominence of gender identity issues in the national media make this a harder and harder topic to ignore each time it’s brought up. 

THIS IS LEADERSHIP. As Marksmen prepare to enter the larger world, we encourage students to embrace the challenging topics — not turning a blind eye to that which we do not know.

THIS IS EDUCATION. The facts, experts and faces of this magazine — whether Navy seals, activists, children or parents — are guiding us as we learn, grow, accept and understand.

And that’s exactly what we hope this magazine does for you.