Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Green Teens' work ignored?

I wasn't ready to post another blog, but when I read this letter in the Key West newspaper, The Citizen, on October 14th I had to share. This news should be headlined, along with other positive environmental news in the Keys such as rescuing wildlife, protecting lobster traps, and releasing rehabilitated sea turtles.
Let's applaud, let's support, let's encourage a new generation of environmentalists. Let's not ignore them. Here is a teen who... Well, read his letter to the editor for yourself.

I'm doing what little I can to get the word out, Heindreck.

Nobody wants to print a positive news story

I am a student currently enrolled in Key West High School's alternative energies program. We recently got a grant to build two wind turbines on campus, which I have started a student movement to name after comedian Stephen Colbert in an attempt to draw attention to our program. We will be the first public high school campus in the country to have wind turbines.

I wish I could say that is the point of my letter; sadly it is not. This past Friday, I spent my entire lunch period collecting signatures for my "student interest form." I ended up getting over half the student body and more than half of the staff. This is despite the problems I have encountered with everybody in the media.

In order to help publicize this event I talked to the teacher in charge of The Snapper, who promised me it would be in the paper. I submitted two tips to The Citizen about our program before that.

It never got in either paper. After the school newspaper came out without my promised article, I submitted yet another news tip to this newspaper and yet again got no reply of any kind. I practically wrote the article for them.

I'm not sure that this should surprise me. After all, an enterprising young high school student trying to gain national attention to his school has nothing to do with sex, drugs, death, a scandal, or "anybody who disagrees with Obama is a racist." No, my story is simply one of those feel-good stories that might catch somebody's interest and make them feel good at the same time. Sorry if this bored you; perhaps I should just let you get back to your depressive stories.

Heindrek Allen

Cudjoe Key


  1. Point well made, both Bonnie and Heindrek! Maybe blogs can help spread the word!

  2. Perhaps the teen could approach a journalist, either from the local paper or elsewhere, present the story, release or tip that was submitted, and ask why it wasn't worthy of attention. In my experience, many of these well intentioned efforts lack important information... such as timeliness, immediate benefits, community involvement or community support. Perhaps the teen could learn from the experience and try to determine why the story didn't draw any interest, and how to do a better pitch in the future. Perhaps that might be more effective than pouting in print.

    The teen might also learn that every publication or station receives hundreds of pitches or ideas a day. Hundreds. They are all in competition with each other for attention. Perhaps in learning more about the process, he or she would understand how to succeed next time.

    It is not unlike a term paper. If someone gets a D on a fall term paper, hopefully they will figure out what they did wrong so they can get an A in the spring.

    Success can come from failure if one is willing to learn from it.

    Just a thought.

  3. Great suggestions from someone in the media who cares enough to provide practical tips. Thanks WSGG.

  4. I hope your student friend doesn't give up. His grants and efforts need to be recognized.

  5. dont give up - it'll take some time for ht ePositives to overtake the Negatives - i love that you guys are trying.

  6. Hope someone sees that this is worthy of print! Nice of the paper to leave a tip. Hope you can contact them and get the two parties together. It's great to see blogs about caring for the environment. Keep up the good work, Bonnie!