Up close with SC

A chat with editors of The Highland Piper


The staff of The Highland Piper, Shorecrest’s newspaper, pose for a photo. Photo Courtesy of the Shorecrest Highland Piper

by Finley Stroh, Associate Editor

The Highland Piper is Shorecrest High School’s newspaper club of around 12 recurring members. Though they only have time to meet about once per week, The Highland Piper has a strong presence in their community. Shorecrest’s newspaper has been around since the founding of the school and translated to an online publication due to COVID. Through their online website, the paper has captivated its peers through opinion pieces and controversial stories such as the SC sexual assult walkout piece. The small but mighty staff commit all their skills from website design to new project ideas to engage their school. Staff members, Maddie Sokolowski, junior, co-president; Skylar Stark, senior, vice president; Maggie Feinberg, sophomore, publisher and editor; Lily Fredericks, sophomore, staff writer, secretary and comic artist, shared their experiences at The Highland Piper. 


What’s your process for coming up with story ideas?


Feinberg: “We usually have newspaper meetings where it’s just brainstorming…and then people pick ideas.”


Sokolowski: “We have a current events discussion where we talk about what’s happening in the world and then people usually get inspired off of that…but it’s a very lax process…basically you can write whatever you want.”


Stark: “It’s very personally driven… and empowering our members, our community members to share their perspectives using our platforms and our support… during our discussions about what’s happening around the school, that’s one of the ways that we can be helpful.”


Do you guys write a lot about current events, or controversial topics?


Feinberg: “We’ve definitely had some people write more worldly current events, controversial topics at times. The most recent thing I can think of is we wrote an article about Shorecrest’s student walkout against sexual asault.”


Sokolowski: “[The walkout story] was really hard to write about, I think mostly because there was a lot of information that couldn’t be shared and we were trying to be the most unbiased source possible. It was less about an opinion piece and controversy but it was more [about] giving everyone as truthful information as possible. But we also have a lot of opinion pieces on our website and I guess more controversial topics.” 


Feinberg: “We have decided to start a Highland Piper YouTube channel, and we’re posting videos on there, and we had this new series, it’s called ‘Community Talks’…so we interview members of the community…[one] was an interview with a person named Cosmo, who plays guitar everyday during 2nd passing and lunch, so we thought it would be cool to interview them.”


Stark: “And those new video initiatives demonstrate how we do have those batch releases but we do operate on our rolling release cycle. When there’s things that really in that moment just need to get out when they need to get out, we will push those along with the media blitizes and the larger pushes that we have for the roughly quarterly releases.”


Sokoloski: “A good example of that is actually the walkout article because it was so time sensitive, so we didn’t publish that with the releases we published it as soon as possible, so I think we got it out the day before the walkout.”


What’s your favorite part of your website?


Sokolowski: “There a lot. I really like our entire website honestly. It makes all of the articles look really professional.” 


Feinberg: “I designed the website this past summer. I’m so proud of it.”


Sokolowski: “I think in terms of our website, Shorecrest has definitely come a long way, or I guess The Piper has come a long way, because in the beginning it was really small and just in print, and then we had a website, but it was kind of clunky and hard to navigate. And now I think we’ve definitely come a long way, in terms of organization…I think that’s mostly due to Maggie…[I] really love the community at The Highland Piper. I joined freshman year, right, and it was a bunch of people that sat in a circle and talked about current events and it was fun and a really great community, but it kind of lacked the structure that we have now. So, in the past couple of years we’ve had the opportunity to kind of revamp the newspaper in a way, and now it’s a lot more organized and structured, but I think we still have that really great community aspect. You know everyone knows each other. Everyone’s really willing to give each other feedback and constructive criticism and compliments and it’s a really comfortable, nice environment.”


Fredericks: “I really love the community. I love to see all sorts of different people join out of curiosity and then keep coming back because they really like it. That’s actually what happened to me. I remember I joined last year on Zoom and I was just like ‘I’ll try this out.’ I didn’t really have high expectations, but I liked it a lot, and it made me want to keep coming back.”


Sokolowski: “I think one of the coolest things is we don’t have a whole bunch of members like we don’t have like a giant group of people, but the people that do come to meetings, like, they come almost every time. And we have those dedicated members who are really committed to making [the] newspaper the best it can be. Which is why I like it so much, it’s a really great community.”