A Smoke Signal Disregarded

Daniel Bernstein, Staff Writer

(Note: although this article uses hyperbole and exaggerated language to present the topic in a comical way, the data presented in this article is real data gathered by the writer.)

Attention sophomore class of Wayne Valley High School: a recent study shows that if you are reading this right now, you are probably not reading this. While this may sound paradoxical, the unfortunate truth is that the majority of sophomore students will never pick up their school newspaper more than four times in their school career. Out of a random sample of forty-two sophomore students, roughly twelve percent of the entire sophomore class, only nine students reported reading the school newspaper to any degree more than once or twice a year. What’s more, of these nine people, a meager fifth of the surveyed students, at least one of them was an editor of “Smoke Signals” themselves, and zero of them were male. That’s right, sophomore male readers of “Smoke Signals”: according to statistics, you don’t exist.

Unfortunately, while some readers (of which, as was already established, there essentially are none) may find the unpopularity of “Smoke Signals” to be a trivial and perhaps even amusing fact, it reflects poorly on the attitude and involvement of students in their school community as a whole. The school newspaper is a vessel by which students eager to share local news stories, raise awareness of school activities, and really write about any school-approved topic that they want, can do so. That their voices should fall upon deaf ears is lamentable at best. This is especially true in the context of sophomore students, who theoretically should be the most involved with the school community; while freshmen are often unaware of many of the school’s events and activities, and upperclassmen are frequently preoccupied with college applications and similar responsibilities, sophomores have no such excuse.

However, the blame in this matter does not rest solely on the students and potential readers. Of the surveyed students who didn’t report reading frequently, a common explanation was that they didn’t have access to “Smoke Signals”. Many reported only reading the newspaper when they received it, which was infrequently. To some degree, it is up to the members of  “Smoke Signals” to further their efforts in promoting the paper and finding effective means of dissemination in the hopes of strengthening the Wayne Valley community by literary means. Of course, only so much can be done if students continue to display an apathetic attitude towards Smoke Signals, regardless of how much promotion is done.