Tag Archives: change

Artists play a role in politics

By Alejandra Gomez and Jasmeet Kaur

Staff Writers

Should artists play a role in politics? Of course they should. Artists need to play a role in politics because of the power and platform they have in our society today.

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Tahoma senior Vivienne Dimalanta

In a few interviews we conducted, students agreed with the argument above. In one interview, Tahoma senior Vivienne Dimalanta shared why she thinks artists should be involved in politics. She said, “Artists have a really big platform that they can utilize to get a certain message out, so they can reach a lot more people if they just post it online.”

This is true. Artists like Drake, Rihanna, Beyoncé and so many more have millions of followers on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, so what they post never goes unnoticed. These artists can use their power and relationship with their fans to give attention to and support big important movements like the March For Our Lives movement.

#MarchforOurLives is the social media branch of the movement for stricter gun control started by determined students following a number of school shootings. A prominent member of this movement is Emma González (@emma4change), a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 adults and children dead and others injured.

This movement has been given a lot of attention by artists as well. Many celebrities in the music business, such as Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber and many more, have shown their support for this movement in their own ways.

Demi Lovato performed at the national march for this movement, held on March 24 in Washington, D.C.

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25-year-old Miley Cyrus attended the movement and publicized some tweets from that day. She used her song “The Climb” to motivate others. 

Other artists supported the movement by tweeting about the march to acknowledge the students’ hard work and to publicize it as well. 


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All these artists, and many more, supported this movement in more ways than one, and that’s really important because the artists were able to reach a lot of people solely by posting about this march on their social media due to their huge platforms. Artists have a lot more reach than others, so their involvement in politics can really help our world if they use it in a positive way.

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Tahoma freshman Bianka Ortega

Artists can get involved in politics in other ways too, not just social media. Tahoma freshman Bianka Ortega said, “The music is something that everyone can hear, and you could spread messages through music. As you can see throughout history, music is being used to tell people things and to tell them stories; so if musical artists write about gun control, people will notice there’s something wrong, and wanna make a movement.”

Many believe that artists should take advantage of the position they are in to speak on issues like this. Some artists do. They use their music to talk about issues in politics or their thoughts on the world issues.


Jermaine Lamarr Cole

J. Cole is an artist who speaks on behalf of the Black community about governmental issues in society today. One song that stands out in particular is “High For Hours.” This is a song about racism in society and a visit J. Cole made to president Obama, including a vivid portrayal of the conversation between him and President Obama in the lyrics.

He says, “American hypocrisy, oh let me count the ways. They came here seeking freedom and they end up owning slaves.” This line speaks for itself about the issue of slavery in our society, an issue is still present in some ways today. He goes on to talk about his conversation with the president, saying:

“I had a convo with the president, I paid to go and see him, thinking bout the things I said I’d say when I would see him. Feeling nervous, sitting in a room full of white folks, thinking about the black man plight, think I might choke, nope. Raised my hand and asked the man a question. ‘Does he see the struggles of his brothers in oppression? And if so, if you got all the power in the clout as the president, what’s keeping you from helping n****s out?’ Well I didn’t say n****, but you catch my drift. He look me in my eyes and spoke and he was rather swift. He broke the issues down and showed me he was well aware. I got the vibe he was sincere and that the brother cared, but dawg you in the chair, what’s the hold up? He said there’s things that I wanna fix, but you know this sh*t n****, politics. Don’t stop fighting and don’t stop believing. You can make the world better for your kids before you leave it.”

This is a good example of an artist using his voice to make songs about issues in society today. While Cole’s songs focus mostly on the struggles of Black people, other artists can also use their voice to convey other important messages through their songs as well. Another song by J. Cole that portrays messages about issues in the world is “Be Free,” and Cole also dedicated a whole album, “4 Your Eyez Only,” to sharing his views on society today, including governmental issues, along with other world problems. 

Artists all around the world can do many things to help the society we live in due to their platform and influence. They can post about issues or transmit their messages through their music to reach a lot more people. We believe that every citizen has a responsibility to the country and should work to make it better in whatever way they can contribute; which means that artists just have the same responsibility, but with a bigger advantage because of their fame. Artists should definitely use their power to make this world a better place.

Featured Image (at the top of the page): Students from Summit Tahoma participating in the March For Our Lives movement on March 14. 


How the future of journalism is changing in the internet era

By Kristian Bekele

Staff Writer 

As the intersection of news and social media is merging at a faster rate, there are various questions that come up with the use of the Internet as a tool for informing the masses. How does the monetization of news websites and “click money” affect the quality of reporting? How does the Political Correctness culture — mixed in with multiculturalism — affect the honest issues that people need to talk about?

Two teachers at Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City gave their perspectives on how the journalism industry is affected by the internet and by the new political and social movements that have occurred within the last couple of years.


Chris Kelly, history teacher at Summit Prep

Chris Kelly is the eleventh grade AP U.S. History teacher at Summit Prep. David Tellez is also a history teacher, but he instructs students in Modern World 1 and 2.

Both of them have had experience working in the journalism industry, with Mr. Kelly working for various publications, most notably as an editor on The Dolphin Log, a quarterly publication on the history and culture of the San Francisco Bay, from 1993 to 2005. Mr. Tellez was a part of Univision as an intern for Community Communications in Los Angeles before becoming a teacher.

With both of them having experience in the journalism world and as history teachers, they have the ability to analyze the historic and local impact of news and how it affects the lives of people.


David Tellez, history teacher at Summit Prep

One of the things that greatly influenced the rise of interest in the news is the terrorist attacks that occurred during 9/11. During that time, Mr. Tellez himself was in high school, and he said that the way that he and his classmates were often informed was through the lens of satire. He remembers watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and being informed through him.

Compare that to now, where people are now informed through various news publications such as HuffPost and Breitbart, to name a few. Mr. Tellez sees this trend of people mainly focusing on what they want to hear instead of diversifying their input from news media, and he said that most people now are “more polarizing.”

Mr. Kelly was an editor at the time, and he said that he has seen the expansion of news media since he was younger (mentioning the dominance of news stations such as CBS and NBC) and that in general people should look at different news sites such as Buzzfeed, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He sees that people (especially his students) need to be able to check the credibility of the media that they watch, and that “a part of teaching is teaching how to do this.”

But then the question comes up about how people should deal with PC (political correctness) culture. It’s a rather hot topic in general, with both sides having solid arguments as to the definition and the implications that can come with implementing these “social norms”. Both teachers agreed that PC culture can be used as a positive tool to allow for communities to further understand people, but at what cost?

Mr. Tellez said, “I do think that to the extreme Political Correctness is harming. It is negating conversations that need to take place.”

Mr. Kelly also said, “The proliferation of all these people that have something to say is something positive. It is a reflection of the First Amendment.”

Both of them agree that the use of people that need to have their voice heard is high, but there should be a point where people should also be respectful of the questions that come as a result.

Mr. Tellez gives an example with his mentor group having questions about theology, culture and race in the group.

He said, “If we were trying to create a safe space, my white students would not be able to ask the questions that they wanted to.”

For instance, if someone posed the question about the differences between Hispanic, Latino, and Chicano, they would not be able to ask this question under the norms of political correctness.

Mr. Kelly also agrees with Mr. Tellez’s statement. He said, “It can shut down the conversation.”

Mr. Tellez also adds that when a person is offended, they need to fully talk it out. Otherwise, their grievances will not be fully addressed, which makes a more divided community.

With the 2016 elections and the comments that have been made by President Trump about fake news, the news media is slowly starting to change. Mr. Tellez said, “I’ve seen news organizations focusing on informing the public on the presidency. There is a shift back to Edward Murrow style of reporting.”

Edward Murrow is an iconic news reporter from the beginning of World War II who was known for putting his life in danger for finding the truth.  was famous for his reports during the McCarthy scandal in the mid 50’s. With the reporting and the investigation that Mr. Murrow did, he was able to clear the name of Mr. Radulovich through his television show See It Now on CBS.

This is where Philip DeFranco comes in. Philip DeFranco, or sxephil, is a YouTuber who specializes in news reporting, even though he doesn’t call himself a reporter. An article in the LA Times described him as the “Walter Cronkite of the YouTube generation.”

I have been watching him since 2013-14, and I constantly go to his news analysis and commentary because of how honest and factual he is.

Mr. DeFranco has a method of introducing a story. He first gives the facts of what has occurred and then gives his opinions (no matter how polarizing), and that is why I appreciate him. In an interview with Forbes, Mr. DeFranco said that “even now, every time I open my mouth, I’m potentially alienating someone. But I think that’s the only way to have the conversation. That’s why I’ve formed it the way I have.”

The intersection between honest reporting and wanting to make profit from advertisement revenue is a rather wide gap and sometimes, content creators can be (for a lack of another word) singled out due to the content that they have created. This mostly means that they would be blacklisted on many advertisers.

With Mr. DeFranco, it was due to the controversial videos that he makes; for instance, in this video he informs the audience about the protests against Milo Yianoppolus and Martin Shrkeli’s speech at the University of California-Davis. Mr. DeFranco puts forth the argument that those against Yianoppolus and Shkreli should not be quick to shut down their voices, even if the speakers’ ideas are against what the protesters believe in.

Such arguments about free speech are a rather touchy subject to talk about during our political moment. Mr. DeFranco’s argument also ties back to what Mr. Tellez and Mr. Kelly said in regards to PC culture and the negative effects that can have in creating a dialogue.

Philip DeFranco is able to step out of the boundaries of both sensationalism and political correctness to bring about news reporting in a clear and honest way.  This makes him “not advertiser-friendly.” In August 2016, YouTube made public that if there was any content that was deemed “not advertiser friendly” (one of the categories was any talk about political conflicts, natural disasters, tragedies and war even if the images are not shown), it would be demonetized.

This means that people who use YouTube as their main income source will basically be censored if they talk about the political, social and economic issues occurring within the world due to their inability to get money from the advertisements that run on their videos. YouTube has the legal right to do this (since they are a private company), but it’s more of an ethical issue. By demonetizing the new generation of news analysis and commentators, then their opinions and voices will not be heard.

The scary part is that this announcement is not anything new. According to Ethan and Hila Klein of the popular h3h3Productions channel, they have been having this problem at least two years before due to the tags that they used.

At this point, it’s just whether journalism and journalists will be able to coincide with the advertisement driven companies and (to a greater extent) us, the people as consumers of media? In order for the truth to come out and the people involved to make a living, there needs to be some sort of way that they can get money. The one possible way that this can happen is through the purchase of subscriptions to news sites. Otherwise, there would be advertisements on every web page and that can easily be remedied using ad-block. As John Oliver said in his observation of the journalism world on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, there is a balance that needs to be obtained with the consumer and the producer.

Otherwise, the truth will be buried under clickbait.

Featured Image (at the top of this post): Journalism students Eliza Insley and Cici Logan pose for the Summit News website banner. PHOTO CREDIT: Kai Lock

Women still remain underrepresented in STEM

By Eliza Insley

Staff Writer

Although in the past decade there has been a rapid increase in women enrolling in STEM programs, there is still the looming shadow of sexism.

In 2009, only 24 percent of STEM positions were held by women, according to a study done by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The study suggests this is because of a lack of female role models, as well as gender stereotyping and workplace biases that create an unwelcome environment.Screenshot 2017-03-02 at 11.32.19 AM

Gender stereotypes, such as the idea that women are the weaker gender, are accepted as young as six years old. According to an article from Associated Press: “As a result, believing they are not as gifted as boys, girls tend to shy away from demanding majors and fields, leading to big differences in aspirations and career choices between men and women. These stereotypes discourage women’s pursuit of many prestigious careers; that is, women are underrepresented in fields whose members cherish brilliance.”

Elementary school has a significant role in shaping how girls perform in math and science in high school. The slightest difference in the way teachers behave toward their students can affect how they view math and science.

Research from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that some teachers assume boys just naturally excel at math and, therefore, grade their tests slightly more generously than they grade girls’ tests. Some teachers also take some boys’ rowdy and assertive nature as a sign that they are more enthusiastic for learning math, and the teachers then call on the boys more frequently. This could discourage girls from participating more actively.  

The American Association of University Women, AAUW, is a nonprofit organization that does a lot of work and research around gender stereotypes and especially around stereotypes and inequality in STEM.

This blog post on AAUW talks about how stereotypes affect girls’ performances in math: “Stereotype threat arises in situations where a negative stereotype is relevant to evaluating performance. A female student taking a math test experiences an extra cognitive and emotional burden of worry related to the stereotype that women are not good at math. A reference to this stereotype, even one as subtle as taking the test in a room of mostly men, can adversely affect her test performance. When the burden is removed, however, her performance will improve. Stereotype threat is one compelling explanation for why women remain underrepresented in STEM fields.”

STEM is becoming more and more valuable and relevant and, in many STEM fields, there has been an increase in women. According to this graphic from AAUW, there are substantially more women in Biological Sciences and Chemistry and Material Sciences.

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Since 1990, the percentage of women in STEM fields such as Computer Science and Engineering has remained low. GRAPHIC CREDIT: AAUW 

However, Computer Science and Mathematics, as well as Engineering, are suffering greatly from a lack of women.

There has been a 9 percent decrease in women in Computer Science and Mathematics. Women only make up less than one-third of people in STEM jobs. The 9 percent decrease is a consequential blow to Computer Sciences, but many universities, such as the University of California at Berkeley have changed the way they teach and market the class. The redesign and re-marketing of the class wasn’t specifically targeted to gain more female representation, but the changes surprisingly attracted a large amount of female students to the usually male-dominated class.

Another reason there is an absence of women in the STEM fields is because of a lack of strong female role models in these fields.

Kene Nwosu is a substitute science teacher for ninth and tenth grade at Summit Preparatory Charter High School, covering for a teacher on maternity leave.


Kene Nwosu, Summit Prep substitute science teacher

When asked about how lack of female STEM role models is affecting today’s youth, Mr. Nwosu said, “When you don’t see representation of your kind, whether it be gender, race, manner of thinking, or religion, that could give you a sense that you don’t belong.”

Astrophysicist Dr. Elisa Quintana works at the Goddard Space Flight Center where she studies exoplanets and is working on TESS, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, a program set to launch in 2018 to survey exoplanets.

Dr. Quintana grew up not even considering astrophysics until she was much older, unlike many of her peers who had known they wanted to pursue science from a young age, often because their parents were scientists.


Astrophysicist Dr. Elisa Quintana Photo Credit: Dr. Quintana’s blog, “Astrobio

“When I was in college at UC, San Diego, my physics adviser was former astronaut Sally Ride. She was very passionate about STEM outreach, especially for young girls. I also loved how she just exuded strength, I know she had to be strong to be among the first females selected for the astronaut program. She definitely had a large influence on my decisions to pursue a career in astrophysics,” Dr. Quintana stated in email. 

Women are extremely outnumbered in STEM fields, but there are many people working to change that, such as the AAUW. Making young girls feel that they would be accepted and welcomed into a field they are passionate about is a really important factor in getting more female representation in those fields. But what about actually getting hired for STEM jobs?

In the AAUW’s latest data report on STEM, they stated, “One study asked science faculty to evaluate résumés that were identical except for the candidates’ names. The researchers found that scientists were more likely to choose a male candidate over an identical female candidate for a hypothetical job opening at a lab. Both female and male scientists also offered a higher salary to the male candidate and were more willing to offer him

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Research shows that women in STEM are often viewed as less desirable hires. GRAPHIC CREDIT: AAUW 

mentoring opportunities. In another study, potential employers systematically underestimated the mathematical performance of women compared with men, resulting in the hiring of lower-performing men over higher-performing women for mathematical work.”

This creates an unwelcoming environment for these women working in STEM, making them underestimate their own abilities, which could cause an overall decline in productivity and quality of work because they believe they are not as skilled or as smart as their male counterparts.

The stakes are high for women, who risk being left out of an important sector of the U.S. economy. James Brown, the executive director of the STEM Education Coalition in Washington, D.C., cited the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 Spring Jobs Report to explain: “The future of the economy is in STEM, that’s where the jobs of tomorrow will be.”