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Newton's Young Pundits

Posted November 6, 2008 10:34 AM

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.”

8 comments so far...
  1. Journalism? Not! Newton kids ought to resist the left wing indoctrination they get in the Newton public schools that year after year has them mindlessly attacking the political right. The problem is they don't know how brainwashed they are. Bottom line: they wouldn''t survive in the Newton Schools if they took some other position on the issues. This is not journalism but political correct fascism and the captive students won't realize it until they get venture into the big world outside Newton, if they can survive the culture shock....

    Posted by Brenda Loew November 6, 08 08:06 PM
  1. Who said it was journalism, Ms Loew?

    Becca merely mentioned "internet journalism" in general, without saying we were doing journalism. That's not our job.

    Since you don't actually know us, it's a little irritating that you would assume you do and can paint us with a wide brush. How is a right-wing brush to stereotype things any better than a left-wing one?

    And I'm glad you think we haven't been into the "big world outside Newton." I've spent every summer of my life in the 2nd California District, which was rated in 2005 as the 67th most Republican district in the country. So, nope, I don't think I'm in for much of a culture shock.

    You on the other hand, ought to turn down your right-wing rhetoric, appearing almost weekly in the Newton Tab, and you should start looking up some facts and such, and learn how to think for YOURSELF... which is what I've been doing since 2nd grade, at least. But again, you don't know me, so it's ok for you to assume you do. Or something. But I appreciate the thoughtless comment, nonetheless.

    Thanks! --Bill

    Posted by Bill Humphrey November 11, 08 04:31 PM
  1. Exactly what "big world outside Newton" are you talking about, Ms. Loew? Would that be the world where only 22% of counties voted more Republican in 2008 than they did in 2004? The world where one of the most liberal members of the legislature was just elected President of the United States? The world where last Tuesday's election has been widely interpreted as a large-scale rejection of Reaganism and trickle-down economics? Or maybe the world outside the United States, where celebrations from Beijing to Paris to Beirut greeted the election of an unabashedly liberal Democrat?

    Posted by LiberalAndProud November 11, 08 08:04 PM
  1. If Brenda Loew is interested in journalism by Newton South High School students, she should read Denebola and the Lion's Roar, South's two excellent newspapers. I believe one of them was in the news about about a year ago. Can't remember why. Something to do with photography or cameras or something.

    Posted by Nate November 12, 08 01:08 AM
  1. Addressing Ms Loew, as a graduate of Newton South and a freshman at Earlham College outside of "the big world outside Newton" I can assure you that I experienced no "culture shock". If anything I benefited from the education system Newton provides, allowing me to see many cultures other than my own through an open-minded outlook.
    Thank you for your opinions,
    David Gabriel
    Newton South '08

    Posted by David Gabriel November 12, 08 01:14 AM
  1. Brenda,
    Both here and in your frequent posting on the NewtonTAB blog, it seems you describe both "Newton kids" and the Newton Public Schools in very broad, non-inclusive statements. Firstly, there are thousands of individuals included in each of those groups - Newton kids and Newton teachers/administrators. Many "kids," I can tell you, are very independent and opinionated. You see this with the "Conservative Student Union" at Newton South, as well as opinion articles in publications like Denebola and The Lions Roar. (Denebola, FYI, has a Pro/Con each month that includes two articles on the same issue, but with opposite opinions - i.e. liberal and CONSERVATIVE). The education that students receive in Newton is, for the most part, completely unbiased; rather, it is the culture that student are immersed within (i.e. "left wing" Newton and its families) that might encourage them to lean one way or another. It might do you well to stay out of Newton schools and students issues and spend some time recruiting right wing activists, which will surely "change" more people in the direction you want.

    Posted by Newton South Student November 15, 08 12:35 PM
  1. The world has certainly changed since I posted my comment.

    The election proved journalism is a fraud in this country, newspapers are losing ad revenue and laying off employees. Liberal talk radio doesn't exist. I wish Newton students good luck getting student loans for college. Pretty soon our president-elect will escalate the war in Afganistan and then it will all be Obama's fault......Get off your high horses and get ready to be drafted or forced into community service, kiddos.

    Posted by brenda loew December 25, 08 07:13 PM
  1. I voluntarily do community service. Do you have a problem with helping other people?

    Posted by Bill Humphrey January 14, 09 11:33 PM
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