Free State, LHS Editors in Chief discuss joint newspaper issue

On a sticky July afternoon at the Media Now Journalism camp in St. Louis, we sat across the lunch table from our publication advisers, ate mediocre pasta and talked about newspaper.

Out of that conversation came the ideas that grew into the paper you hold in your hands—a collaborative issue between Lawrence High and Free State.

Naming such an issue initially presented a challenge. We threw around ridiculous combinations of our respective publications: “The Free Budget,” “The Budget Press,” “The Bree Preget.” Finally, with the help of our advisors, we settled on “the Student Choice Awards” because we wanted to create something that expresses the opinions of both schools’ student bodies and showcases local eateries, recreational facilities, clothing stores, etc.

We collaborated to decide which categories we wanted students to voice their preference about. We considered “Best Place to Smoke Weed” and “Best Restaurant with Health Code Violations,” but eventually settled on categories our advisers considered “school appropriate” (lame).

In October, we surveyed more than 2,000 students from both schools about their favorite local spots and businesses in 20 different categories. We spent an estimated 2,000 hours tallying the results. (The counting didn’t actually take us that long, but it sure felt like it did.) We got a number of extraneous responses and chain store nominations, all of which were not considered in the tally. Sorry, but Jesus is not the best senior photographer, McDonald’s is not the best place to buy secondhand clothes and Ebola is not the best dish served in the cafeteria. Frankly, after reading some of your responses, a couple of you need to wash your mouths out with soap and water.

This issue came from hours at the library in front of laptops and half-eaten Cosmic brownies, as well as substantial time spent in both schools’ newsrooms ironing out the inevitable wrinkles and hiccups. This issue came from one of our moms having a breakdown after helping count surveys for eight hours. This issue came from each editor gently and passive-aggressively pushing the other school’s staff toward our own preferences for advertising, design, photography and copy editing until we finally developed suitable compromises, as you see here. This issue is the vessel of the little sanity we had at the end of the semester. Please ignore the blood stains and tears on page 16.

Joking aside, the collaborative effort we put into the Student Choice Awards issue reminded us that our schools relations don’t have to be limited to city showdown games and vandalism. We can form partnerships and, out of those partnerships, true friendships.

It’s worth reaching across 15th street every once in awhile. Enjoy.

Kyra Haas and Zia Kelly

the Free Press and the Budget Editors in Chief