KNIGHTS IN CONVERSATION

Connie, Daniel , Julia, and Adrian

The paper you’re holding in your hands 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 POV Editors-in-Chief Julia Shephard
and Daniel Wang (both ’22), The Benchwarmer Editor-in-Chief Adrian Mendoza-Perez ’22, and Editors-in-Chief Connie Yang ’22 and Julia for some press talk.
—Danielle Brennan and Madera Longstreet-Lipson (both ’23)

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 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
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.]