While other high school students may have been watching election coverage well into Tuesday night, Becca Goldstein—along with two other Newton South High School students—was creating coverage of her own, often times breaking news on her blog before CNN or MSNBC. Culling material from local newspaper websites, Goldstein posted gubernatorial and ballot initiative results while her friends covered congressional, senatorial and presidential news.
The site, Starboardbroadside, whose name is a maritime allusion to an attack on the right side (in this case referring to politics), netted nearly 150 unique visitors during the night of live blogging.
Goldstein’s began writing for the blog—a brainchild of fellow Newton South students Nate Yeo and Bill Humphrey—after years of high school debate.
“During my freshman year my coach said one of the things you are going to learn doing speech is that the talking heads on TV have no idea what they are talking about,” Goldstein said. “He said that everyone on the debate team could analyze just as well as they do. For a long time I didn’t believe that, but eventually I learned that information empowers you so much. Really, anyone can be an expert on nearly anything.“
Not only did her debating earn her the national extemporary speech title last year (topic: Does America’s interventionist policy put the country more at risk? Short answer: yes), but it catalyzed her to articulate herself beyond verbal competitions.
“Debate forced me to keep up with the news, to stay in touch with what is going on, and the blog gives me the opportunity to take all of this information and to express myself to a larger audience,” she said. “Internet journalism is the true democratization of news. A lot of people have good things to say but are not talking heads on TV, now their voices can be heard on blogs like ours.”
For Goldstein and her friends the inspiration to keep this blog going comes naturally.
“There really never is any struggle to keep up with the blogging,” Goldsetin said. “ All of our posts are just the online and public versions of the notes we would be passing in journalism class.”