Knights in Conversation: Student publications


The paper you’re currently reading is only one among many Upper School publications. Others include The Point of View (The POV), a political magazine; CHASM, a STEM journal; and The Benchwarmer, an online magazine about all things sports. The Vanguard circled up with The POV Editors-in-Chief Julia Shephard and Daniel Wang (both ’22), The Benchwarmer Editor-in-Chief Adrian Mendoza-Perez ’22, and CHASM Editors-in-Chief Connie Yang ’22 and Julia for some press talk.


Tell us a bit about the publication you’re involved with. What does it cover, and what makes it special?

Daniel: Every year The POV has three issues, and writers can write about whatever current event or public policy that they have an opinion on. So writers can generate an argumentative article of 500 or 800 words. Basically, they have about a week to write, and then they have two rounds of edits. So they get good feedback on how they can improve the writing, and it’s a great chance for them to share their opinion with the broader BB&N community.

Adrian: One thing that’s unique about The Benchwarmer is that we combine sports and politics, especially with how intertwined the two subjects have become lately. We appeal to the underclassmen more, I would say, and our typical articles are from 500 to 800 words, but we don’t mind if they go longer.

Connie: I don’t know if Julia is here representing both CHASM and The POV, but as co-editors-in-chief of CHASM, Julia and I have writers writing about any topic they want—anything from an invention to an interview with a scientist or even current events.

Julia: What’s interesting about CHASM is we’re branching out into different sciences. We’re trying to cover more things that are happening in the BB&N community and curriculum.


What inspired you to get involved with your publication rather than others?

Julia: Well, I got involved with both. The POV I got involved with freshman year. I didn’t know about it, but Former English Teacher Rob Leith, an icon among English teachers, said, “Julia, go write for The POV.” So I did. I wrote for the fall edition. Then CHASM I started writing for freshman winter.

Daniel: I’ve always loved current events, but writing argumentatively, putting your opinion out there, was not something I was used to. I got a lot of feedback on my first article. I mean, the juniors kind of roasted it, and I had to spend hours reworking it. But I found it to be a really engaging process, examining my own thoughts and critically thinking.

[At The Vanguard, we’ll only lightly roast your articles. Let us know if you prefer medium or medium well.]

Connie: Sciences and math classes have always been my favorite. I don’t remember a time where that wasn’t true. So I guess it came naturally. When I started writing for CHASM, I was especially interested by the research component. You really get to dive as deep as you want.

Adrian: I liked how sports and politics interacted with each other, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement—how that interacts with the sports and how Donald Trump views athletes. I find it extremely interesting to write about because we don’t necessarily look at athletes as political figures, but they can have that agency.


What do you enjoy most about the process?

Connie: The initial researching component. Sometimes I’ll have no clue what I’m writing about except for the general idea. The initial deep dive into finding out all different sectors of the topic, and what people are involved with it, that’s interesting to hear from books, specific scientists, other publications, and general research.

Daniel: Definitely reading other people’s articles and pushing them to dig deeper. Because we have writers of all experience levels, at both ends of the spectrum, you can find room to push their argument. You can play devil’s advocate and poke holes in the argument.

Julia: For me, it’s changed over time. I like editing each individual article. It’s also cool when you get higher up in the editorial process. We start with a bunch of emails to people and then by the end we have an issue that’s a magazine with, in CHASM’s case 25 to 30, and in The POV’s case, 35 to 40 articles, and I just think that is very cool.

Adrian: The most rewarding process is seeing a writer grow. Finally getting your article on a website or on paper is super rewarding because it’s an achievement to get published. Seeing that happiness is rewarding. It’s something academic that you actually enjoy doing.


Do you have favorite articles that you’ve edited or written?

Julia: It’s a lot. For The POV, I researched this article about abortion. My favorite type of articles to read in the publication are well-developed opinion pieces that I don’t personally agree with because it makes you think. I read one on equal pay for women’s soccer teams and why there’s more nuance in that issue than people might think. The argument made was interesting.

Daniel: I agree with Julia here: reading articles that you don’t necessarily agree with. But your job as editor is not to agree; it’s to help that writer, regardless of their political opinion. I remember reading one about stimulus, and that person took a more fiscally conservative view that I hadn’t been very familiar with before, but that pushed me to read more about it.

Julia: Reiterating what Daniel said, that’s great because even within friend groups and at school, there’s this potential for an echo chamber, especially on social media. And it’s something we need to work on. It’s cool when we juxtapose different perspectives.

Adrian: I have two favorite articles, actually. The first one was a deep analysis on LaVar Ball, Lonzo Ball’s dad, who’s villainized for the way he treats his son. This writer took it on from a different perspective. And the second piece I enjoyed editing was about athletes’ salaries. Is it greedy in a sense to have a multi-millionaire athlete that just makes tons of money for playing a sport, versus a doctor?

Connie: There’s a subgroup of articles that we could put under “concepts explained.” They remind me of a book I had in elementary school, where it was one-page descriptions of how things function. And this subgroup is just way more detailed explanations of things like machine learning and 5G.


Is there anything else you guys want to tell us or each other about your publications?

Daniel: You know, The POV is always here. We accept writers anytime. Just in case you guys want to, you know, write for an actually interesting publication.

Julia: The deadline is April 10. Sign up, everyone.

[As this date has now passed, The Vanguard would like to note that if you missed The POV’s cutoff, there’s never a deadline to express interest in our publication.]

Adrian: The Benchwarmer’s probably the best publication at BB&N. One thing that makes it unique is the fact that we combine two areas of discourse. The POV is politics, and CHASM is science. We discuss all of that, and how that relates to sports. We get topics like COVID, Black Lives Matter politics, and new technology in sports.

[Write for The Vanguard…and you can write about them all!]

Connie: What’s great about all three of our publications is that you sign up for your own topic. I know for The Vanguard, people assign articles, whereas for CHASM and The POV and The Benchwarmer, you choose what you want to write about.

Julia: We are much calmer than The Vanguard. Our publications are just something you submit to, and then you get published, and then you can go to bed.

Daniel: Writing for our publication is a big enough deal that you can put on your resume, but it’s not that big of a commitment that you have to sacrifice your life to it.

[We at The Vanguard write because we love it, not for our resumes. But to each his own.]

Adrian: Yeah, you’re not giving up a free block, right?

Daniel: Where The POV shines is trying to push your thinking. We all like to think that we’re experts when we look at a topic, but the more you dig into it, the more you know you’re not. I feel like what we do best is push people beyond their comfort zone.

Julia: And you can do more than one publication. I do more than one.

[The Vanguard approves this message. If you have to choose one, though, we think you know the best choice.]