Letter to the editor


First, I’d like to both congratulate and thank the entire staff of the New Trier News for physically publishing VOL. CII, No.1 on Friday, November 5th, 2021.  This edition continues a proud tradition, which dates back to 1919, of faithfully and fearlessly reporting the relevant news to the student body, the faculty and the staff of New Trier High School.  Second, I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that appears in the Editorial on page one: neither four nor eight print issues are enough.

It is worthwhile to further examine and interrogate some of the claims expressed in the newspaper.  I agree with the claim in the Editorial that “[i]n the real world of journalism, the decision to curb print runs is a financial decision to adjust to changing reader and advertiser habits.” However, two of these interrelated considerations – finances and paid advertising – are not germane to the overall situation of the New Trier News.  With regard to New Trier’s general financial situation, the school has plenty of money on hand and in reserves.  Anyone who would like to see just how much money New Trier enjoys, please consult the following link and see for yourself. With regard to paid advertising, the New Trier News does not engage in such a practice. There simply is no legitimate financial reason for New Trier to stop publishing a print copy of the newspaper.

The third consideration, changing reader habits, broadly encapsulates the substantive reasons why the administration has decided to scale back the print version of the paper.  In her published letter, Stacey Kolack (who presumably is speaking on behalf of the administration) articulates these considerations: the environmental impact, the change in reader preferences, and quicker access to information. Kolack also voices the financial concerns in her letter; however, I have already addressed the fallacious nature of that claim. 

Clearly, no one wants to put undue strain on an environment that is already in dire straits.  However, there are two simple solutions that can mitigate a substantial amount of environmental concern: first, the paper could be published on 100 percent recycled paper, and any excess papers should be fully recycled by New Trier’s Recycling Program. 

With regard to the change in reader preference, it is true that more people are engaging with the news via electronic media, yet it is a very open question whether this is a positive trend.  For example, Virginia Clinton’s recent paper “Reading from Paper Compared to Screens: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” came to the following conclusion: “Readers may be more efficient and aware of their performance when reading from paper compared to screens.” The fact that more people are reading on screens does not mean that it is beneficial to those readers, and to purport otherwise is to engage in a fallacious inference.

Lastly, concerning the quicker access to information claim, the New Trier News has a perfectly good answer: publish both print and online editions.  Problem solved. Moreover, this isn’t a revolutionary idea, just ask Stevenson, Loyola, GBS and GBN (to say nothing about The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post).

Put simply, the administration is making a mistake, and it’s the job of a good newspaper and a good teacher to say so unambiguously.    

-Anthony Gudwien, English faculty