The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

Letter from the Editors: Reflecting on Student Press Freedom Day

What does #studentpressfreedom mean to you?

Today, Feb. 22, is the sixth annual Student Press Freedom Day. Student journalists in schools and universities across the country observe the day by celebrating their First Amendment right to a free press. The day will also be spent reflecting and speaking out about challenges and roadblocks to this freedom. The Appalachian invites you, our valued readers, to celebrate Student Press Freedom Day with us. 

The Appalachian newspaper has, is and always will be a student-run publication. For 90 years and many more, our staff has strived to tell the stories of students, faculty and staff — both on and off campus. We also have the privilege of serving more than the App State community, providing critical local news to the greater Boone area and the High Country. Our staff has been committed to informing the public on current events that may affect them as well as being a place for people to learn new ideas and find entertainment.

In honor of Student Press Freedom Day, we want to highlight our outstanding staff, the importance of student journalism and why free and fair student journalism matters.

Over the past year, our staff has covered numerous stories, such as features on our student body, faculty and staff, reports on issues that affect the App State and Boone community, hard-hitting opinion pieces that relate to student life, highlighting different cultures, protests of global affairs, sports coverage of iconic games and so much more. 

In order to achieve all this coverage, our staff has been in the field and in the books gathering information. Information that serves you. They have spent their time combing through agendas and meeting minutes, scheduling countless interviews, and attempting to become experts on topics they have limited experience with.

As student journalists, we are always learning. Many of our staff write stories for The Appalachian as they learn how to write in their journalism classes. Cutting our teeth in the public’s eye, as our adviser, Allison Bennett Dyche, often says. We put our time into credible and ethical reporting and into every decision we make, and with your support, we will continue to do so. 

However, journalism is not just writing. 

There is so much work going on behind the scenes in journalism, and students whose names aren’t often seen on the website or in print are always appreciative of your support. Some don’t write or report, yet work long hours to ensure our community receives timely updates and quality journalism. This can be seen through copy editing, photography, graphic design, marketing and more. The Appalachian is a place that welcomes everyone, regardless of experience, and we are always striving to bring our best work to the table.

Without student journalism, who would be the watchdogs on our campus? Who better to tell the stories of our college campus and the Boone community than the student journalists who live here? Who is to say what goes unnoticed on such a large campus like App State? This is why freedom of the press and student journalism matters. 

 If you want to continue seeing student journalism, please consider supporting us through donations, picking up our print copies, reading our newsletter, engaging with our website and social media posts or just reaching out with what you want us to cover. We greatly appreciate your support.

On this Student Press Freedom Day, support students, support community and support journalism. The right to a free press guarantees a right to information, so use your right. Community voice matters and any support is invaluable. 



Jenna Guzman, 2023-24 Editor-in-Chief

Ella Adams, 2023-24 Managing Editor

Vivian Parks, 2023-24 Chief Copy Editor

Siri Patterson, 2023-24 News Editor

Leah Boone, 2024 Opinion Editor

Kaitlyn Close, 2023-24 Graphic Editor


Here are a few words from our current staff and what their experience has been as student journalists and in a student-run news publication:

“In each interview, strangers clue me in on their passions, goals, fears and wants. I feel connected to them in a fleeting sense, grateful to be able to lift the veil for just a moment and be a part of their world. The interactions are not always fulfilling. There are many thankless aspects of this job. I have felt the pain of realizing the people closest to me do not take time to read the work I poured hours into. I cried after watching a man shout obscenities and flash the middle finger at a child attending a protest. I have closed my laptop so many times, frustrated from never receiving a response from a source. But every time I feel defeated, the interminable support I receive from faculty and staff, student readers, my mom, active community members and my colleagues at The Appalachian sparks the passion I have for this work again. To anyone and everyone who supports student journalism: Thank you. It may just be an email for you, but for us, it is everything.” – Siri Patterson, news editor.

“Designing layouts, crafting illustrations and selecting imagery to accompany articles allowed me and others to express ourselves artistically while also serving a vital function within the publication. Collaborating with writers and editors to visually enhance their stories taught me the importance of teamwork and effective communication. Moreover, seeing my work in print and knowing that it reached and resonated with my fellow students filled me with a sense of pride and accomplishment. The role has not only honed my graphic design skills but has also instilled in me a deep appreciation for the power of visual storytelling in conveying messages and connecting with audiences. Overall, being the graphics editor has been an amazing journey of self-discovery and creative exploration.” – Kaitlyn Close, graphics editor.

“Writing for The Appalachian has been the highlight of my college career. Learning from previous editors and current editors is such an honor, and I truly learn something new every day. I have a platform to speak my mind, and oftentimes, it encourages others to do the same. I have always been passionate about sharing my opinion and catalyzing discourse about different topics, and being the opinion editor has given me the safe space and the opportunity to do so. Hearing other people, whether they are students, faculty or those who read The Appalachian discuss the topics I write about is a rewarding experience that cannot be compared to anything else. The Appalachian has helped me find my voice and speak my mind without apology. I feel so proud reading my writers’ articles and watching them grow as both writers and people. Every single person I interact with on The Appalachian staff teaches me something new and inspires me in countless ways. Student Press Freedom Day is a day to celebrate the fact that we, as students, have the ability to see our passions come into fruition. To everyone who reads, listens to, contributes or simply knows about The Appalachian: thank you; without you, I would not have found my voice.” – Leah Boone, opinion editor.

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We hope you appreciate this article! Before you move on, our student staff wanted to ask if you would consider supporting The Appalachian's award-winning journalism. We are celebrating our 90th anniversary of The Appalachian in 2024!

We receive funding from the university, which helps us to compensate our students for the work they do for The Appalachian. However, the bulk of our operational expenses — from printing and website hosting to training and entering our work into competitions — is dependent upon advertising revenue and donations. We cannot exist without the financial and educational support of our fellow departments on campus, our local and regional businesses, and donations of money and time from alumni, parents, subscribers and friends.

Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest, both on campus and within the community. From anywhere in the world, readers can access our paywall-free journalism, through our website, through our email newsletter, and through our social media channels. Our supporters help to keep us editorially independent, user-friendly, and accessible to everyone.

If you can, please consider supporting us with a financial gift from $10. We appreciate your consideration and support of student journalism at Appalachian State University. If you prefer to make a tax-deductible donation, or if you would prefer to make a recurring monthly gift, please give to The Appalachian Student News Fund through the university here:

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About the Contributors
Jenna Guzman
Jenna Guzman, Editor-in-Chief
Jenna Guzman (she/her) is a junior journalism and public relations double major with a media studies minor. This is her third year working for The Appalachian.
Ella Adams
Ella Adams, Managing Editor
Ella Adams (she/her) is a senior anthropology major.
Vivian Parks, Chief Copy Editor
Vivian Parks (they/them) is an anthropology major with a minor in Spanish. This is their second year with The Appalachian.
Siri Patterson
Siri Patterson, News Editor
Siri Patterson (she/her/hers) is a junior journalism major with a minor in political science. This is her second year writing for The Appalachian.
Leah Boone
Leah Boone, Opinion Editor
Leah Boone (she/her/hers) is a junior chemistry major. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
Kaitlyn Close
Kaitlyn Close, Graphics Editor
Kaitlyn Close (she/her) is a senior Graphic Design major and Digital Marketing minor. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
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