Clickbait is Not Journalism

Chris Berg and Andrew Deaver, Staff Writers

A recent article submitted online by News24/680 entitled “Good Kid, Bad Kid…Rich Kid, Poor”  received a lot of attention. This article lacks journalism etiquette and the writer clearly lacks an understanding of the issues he/she writes about. This is one of the recent cases where the local media inaccurately portrays Miramonte High School.

Purportedly an “op ed” piece, the article would have been better suited under the heading, “egregious accusations.” It is accusations such as the ones made by the author that lead to litigation. The article unfairly and inaccurately perpetuates assumptions about Miramonte students based on rumors and wrong information.

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, this is a scandalous and irresponsible piece of writing that does nothing but slander the good name of Miramonte. Miramonte’s student body and staff have worked together diligently over decades to develop a superior reputation known for academic excellence.

The author uses the weak excuse of “we were told” as means to report baseless claims. People reading this article aren’t thinking, “Well it’s their opinion that these things happened.” They are reading the events and perceiving them as fact.

Originally, before changes were made, the article was ushered to make Miramonte students the alleged creators of the infamous dropbox composed of 600 nude photos. In actuality, a Miramonte student, our fellow Mirador writer Sofia Ruiz, was responsible for helping get the dropbox taken down. The dropbox had been created several years ago by Lamorinda students, but the article makes Miramonte the scapegoat.

In terms of the “death list” that the author claims to have heard existed, we believe the author did not understand the weight of that statement. Especially with all the sensitivity around school shootings, “a death list” is of utmost seriousness and can lead to jail time. We do not know exactly what was in that student document, but neither does the author, which he/she later admits.

Regardless, a true journalist would not use the word of a few gossipping parents as means to report that students could be planning to murder other students. The only true facts we have on the situation is that the school dealt with it,  and six of the students were suspended. Without facts, the author should not have even mentioned a “death list” in the article. Once again, we feel the author failed to follow journalism etiquette on this point

To top this off the writer ends the article with a backhand to the face: “It was interesting to see it all, or most of it, out there. Discussed by students. We’ll just move along, looking for something positive….”  If the author decided to spend one day at Miramonte, he/she would discover that there are countless positive things happening. Students are succeeding in and out of the classroom.