Editorial on bullying journalism reporters

Reporters have the right to their opinion, readers have the right to give their feedback, but no one has the right to bully. Harassing reporters for their articles has become extremely popular but people don’t understand the ramifications of the bullying, while also not understanding the real meaning of an article.

The Harbinger has posted two articles explaining the rights reporters have. On herefordharbinger.com a past editor-in-chief wrote out Senate Bill 764.

“The Bill provides student journalists with the freedom of speech and of the press, allowing them speech and of the press, allowing them to self-determine what is and is not published in the school sponsored media,” says the article, “Governor Hogan signs journalism bill”.

Whether someone agrees with a reporter or not, nothing can be said stating the writer, “should not have been able to write that,” because according to the law, they have the right.

Nothing has to be approved by an adviser or go through the administration. As long as the article is not vulgar, offensive, or libelous to any identifiable group of people, the Harbinger can publish it.

Just as reporters have the admittance to write what they would like, people have the right to share their opinions about it.  A goal of the Harbinger is to get people talking so if a few articles can bring attention towards common issues, members of the Hereford community are welcome to engage in the conversation.

We can honestly say, when a letter to the editor is sent to us, we get super excited. If you disagree with an article or issue in the school, we highly encourage you to write a letter to the editor to be published in the upcoming issue or on our website.

Community chatter and letters to the editors are what the Harbinger looks forward to, but bullying reporters and members of the staff for writing such “controversial articles,” is unwelcomed.  This aggressive behavior has not only occurred in our very own hallways, but it has blown up on social media.

One reporter recalls girls coming up to her and saying she looked ugly in her mugshot and others just walking up and taunting her by repeating lines of her own article.

“Every time I saw her in the hallway I just shouted, “understand the hierarchy,” at her,” an anonymous freshman said.

Incidents occurred where reporters were circled by groups of people and yelled at for their writing. Opinions can just as easily be shared through a letter to the editor or comments on our website, rather than through harassing behavior that is so unprofessional and immature.

Even more vulgar terms were shared through Instagram where bullies can hid behind their phones.  Users posted pictures of one article and asked things such as if the reporters’ mother and father loved her and said that the writers should just keep to themselves. Attention angry students: It is the columnist’s job to write how they feel and share their insights and perspectives.

The hypocrisy of students bullying reporters stuns us, yet we the writers can’t help but be amused by the irony.   The reporters who were insulted are developing portfolios while the bullies are flooding their social media accounts with posts college administration offices can and will access.  One Instagram user in a rant about a reporter, talked about how the writer just wants attention.  Well, you are correct.  The goal of a reporter is for people to read their work. Of course they don’t want to be bullied for it, but they want people talking about it.

While we make it a goal to avoid sensational, tabloid-style content, the Harbinger will not back down on providing a forum for students to share their thoughts. You are welcome to participate in an appropriate way by writing to us at hhsharbinger@bcps.org.

We want to thank those of you who have supported our freedom of expression and risen above the fray in your kind words to the staff.  You are our ideal audience.