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Letters from the Editors: Every detail counts

An exploration of the beginning of 2018

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Letters from the Editors: Every detail counts

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It’s been a hot minute since the last Letters from the Editors, but we’ve returned! So, let us give you a belated welcome back to the school year. We launched into 2018 with great ideas in mind and high hopes for the rest of the semester.

Both newspaper and yearbook had a rough start to second semester. Not because stories and photos and the overall content became more challenging, but because we were scraping for stories. Winter sports might be in full swing, but other clubs and organizations are not. Some beats were dead as doornails, which provided a new task for us editors-in-chief. We had to think outside the box and help staffers find something to do. In the end, though, everything is turning out to be OK.  

As we posted and edited stories this month, we had to be wicked nit-picky. Not even a comma could be out of place. That might be an exaggeration, but we definitely paid more attention to the little parts of our website with Pacemaker judging looming overhead. We weren’t sure when it would happen, so we had to be ready at all times. We’re crossing our fingers for a nomination this year, which hopefully doesn’t jinx us.

Speaking of ready, some news at the beginning of the school year hit us like a truck. At the tail-end of December 2017, Millard South High School assistant principal Matt Fedde was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 15-year-old student in Omaha, Nebraska. While it sounds trivial and like it doesn’t involve us, there is a subtle tie back to Mill Valley. Before his time in Omaha, Fedde used to be MV’s associate principal up until the end of the 2012-2013 school year.

As a news website, you might have expected us to launch an investigation regarding the actions of our former associate principal. However, we didn’t. As of now, we don’t feel it is our place as student journalists to explore this case. Yes, Fedde has a connection to MV, but we didn’t know if anybody from our school would come forward and admit they were sexually involved with him. No-one expressed any complaints, so we didn’t know how to proceed. We couldn’t proceed. 

Additionally, the Fedde case taught us an important lesson: there are no throwaway stories. Even if it’s the smallest story, our work doesn’t go unnoticed. When former news editor Josh Duden wrote his story over Fedde’s move in 2012, he probably didn’t think the views on his story would skyrocket seven years later. Curious readers wanted to know more about Fedde, so they searched “Matt Fedde” and found the story. While the news was still ripe, our story quickly climbed up the Google search hierarchy, where it currently sits fourth from the top of the page.

The big idea from January is that everything we put on this website has importance. Whether it’s a basketball story or a report on an associate principal, the smallest stories might make the biggest difference. You never know.

Much love (and hoping Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow),

Tricia Drumm, Morgan Gurwell and Ally Nguyen (your very chilly Mill Valley News editors-in-chief)

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Letters from the Editors: Every detail counts