Improved publicity will foster Beacon inclusivity

Kennedy Whitby, Contributor

The Beacon has a meeting on the first (or second) Wednesday of every month to assign articles. Did you know that?

I was interested in writing an article this month, so I went at STEP to room 316B.

As soon as I walked in the room, all eyes were on me. I was one of the very few minority students that attended the meeting. This led me to wonder: Why is it that The Beacon lacks diversity? Why didn’t I see anyone who looks like me?

I believe the main reason is that information about The Beacon is not widespread enough. The Beacon is a place where students can go and let their voices be heard. But how can we do that if we don’t know where to go or who to speak to when we want to join?

I went to Hardy, where we had neither a school newspaper nor any way to spread our views and opinions. So, when I found out that Wilson had a school paper, I was on it like white on rice.

But when I got to Wilson, I had no idea where to go to be a part of this program. It took me until my junior year to find out the room with the wooden doors on the second floor is where The Beacon editors meet at STEP. This is because I had not heard enough information about The Beacon.

When it comes to spreading information, The Beacon staff falls short. Listening to the morning announcements every morning, you regularly hear about the Labels Off Logo Contest, basketball games, and interest meetings for Model UN. But I only hear information about The Beacon on the day of their interest meeting. That is a problem. A lot of teachers stop classes for the announcements, meaning that everyone’s full attention is on the morning announcements, and that’s where a lot of students could hear useful information.

This brings me to another point. As I surveyed 20 random students of color, 13 of the 20 students explained that they were not involved with The Beacon simply because, “writing isn’t my thing.” That’s okay, but what’s not okay is that none of those 13 people knew that The Beacon has many more activities than writing. The Beacon offers opportunities involving photography, social media, graphic design, and more. After they heard this, they were eager to sign up. How can we draw in more people and have a more diverse paper if people don’t even know what they could be doing to help out?  

Out of the 20 random students, 11 also said they didn’t know who was in charge or how to join. The Beacon is a student-led program, which many don’t know. It is led by the students listed on the “masthead” in the opinions section. This month, the two editors-in-chief put their numbers on the masthead, so that they’re easy to contact with any questions. And English teacher Spencer Nissly is the adviser. If you’re interested in joining The Beacon, you can find in him in room 316B.

I believe that The Beacon lacks diversity because of the lack of information students are provided with. The first step towards resolving this is posting more fliers around the school and weekly messages on the morning announcements.