In Response to an Anonymous Letter


Grace Franklin

A response to the anonymous writer.

On September 17, The Claw’s staff was made aware of an anonymous letter left in journalism adviser Lauren Henson’s classroom. Identifying themselves as a concerned student, the author highlights instances in which they, reportedly supported by other Campolindo students, parents, and faculty, believe The Claw has exhibited undue bias in articles published both on our website and in our printed issues. Citing multiple published pieces, they claim that we have portrayed a left-leaning bias, supposedly breaking the most elementary principle of journalistic objectivity.

In writing this, I want to make it abundantly clear that we are addressing this communication with only the utmost respect for the unknown writer and their criticism, as our staff is profoundly committed to fostering the same culture of love, support, and unity that this author claims to desire for Campolindo.

As The Claw’s staff, we want to make it known that we wholeheartedly support the upholding of journalistic standards, reporting objectively with the absence of bias. Being the only official, student-led newspaper of Campolindo High School, we strive to report on the newsworthy events, achievements, and shortcomings of and beyond our community, effectively representing the views and opinions of our entire school and the broader Lamorinda area.

However, I do feel the need to respond to some of the claims made in this letter, as they are not representative of our values, our editing process, or the content we produce as a journalistic team. While the letter writer cites multiple articles as being biased or generalizing, all of these works are published under the Opinion section of our paper. As defined by the Cambridge Dictionary, the term “op-ed” is “used to describe a piece of writing that expresses a personal opinion.”

Thus, by definition, our staff writers, editors, and art staff are entitled to express their own opinions in these articles and, more importantly, have no obligation to express an opinion that they do not hold as an individual.

Opinion pieces are intentionally subjective. As other respected publications do, we encourage our opinion authors to write on topics they feel passionately about, to include their own feelings, and to incorporate opinionated statements wherever they see fit. While this approach can inarguably generate debate, controversy is the basis of discussion, of change, and of humanity. As a newspaper, we value our entrusted commitment to address such controversy.

Titles that are mentioned in the letter, such as “Not All Men, But Too Many Women” and “Sports Reinstation Requires Responsibility,” are opinion articles in which the authors rightfully express their truthful opinions and perceptions. As a team, we are in no position to censor our staff in any way, and we do not have any plans to do so, regardless of any criticism we may receive.

That said, this commitment to freedom of expression goes both ways. The Claw does not, has never, and will never hold any political affiliations; that would be in complete disregard of every principle we stand for. All Campolindo students have the ability to sign up to take the Journalism class, all staff members can propose an idea they have for an article, and all consumers and community members can submit a story idea or Letter to the Editor via a Google Form on our website. We earnestly appreciate, and celebrate, any and all contributions to The Claw, hence why we’ve included the form on our site in the 1st place. Our Editorial Policy states, “Letters to the editor should not exceed 500 words, must be signed and must include the writer’s address and phone number (which will be verified by a Claw staff member to determine the authenticity of the writer).” This letter was written anonymously, which we normally would not have acknowledged; however, we felt that the critiques leveled against our staff warranted a response.

I would like to clarify, however, that our standards for opinion writing do not apply to the remaining sections of News, Lifestyle, and Sports. In accordance with accepted journalistic standards, we strive for objectivity, garnering interviews and information for each and every article from a variety of sources. Our news articles never include editorialization or subjectivity, as this would be a direct violation of our Code of Conduct, which our entire staff signs as each school year commences.

On occasion, in order to portray this goal of transparency and nonpartisan journalism, we will cover an event with an impartial news or sports article alongside an opinion piece, providing our audience with factual information while allowing an author or artist to express their own take on the topic. This practice was carried out in the case of “Sports Reinstation Requires Responsibility,” although the anonymous letter writer fails to recognize this duality in their communication.

In addition, while the nameless author criticizes us for failing to provide opposing viewpoints on various issues, particularly when looking at articles such as “The Trials and Tribulations of the Female Student Experience,” they are unsuccessful in noting that the The Claw did, in fact, publish an article with this contrasting outlook. Released nearly a month before the article of concern, “Man Box Culture Pervasive in Student Body” lays out the cultural restraints male students face. We remain fully aware of the precedents we have the ability to set within our community, intentionally working to represent all ends of the spectrum.

The Claw does not seek to assign “blame” to anyone for inadequacies within or outside of our tight knit community, nor do we intend to feed into the polarization of our contemporary society. With immense clarity, we understand the power that we hold as the voices of our student body, and we operate with Campolindo’s mission statement at the forefront of our minds.

On behalf of The Claw, I would like to thank the anonymous author for sharing their criticisms with us; we have taken them into consideration and hope this response may help clarify some of your valid concerns. If you desire to contact us with any further critiques, sans the veil of anonymity, please do not hesitate to do so.

For more information regarding The Claw’s Editorial Policy or to contact us, visit ​​

Jensen Rasmussen (Editor-in-Chief) and The Campo Claw’s Staff