I remember the first time I interviewed the principal.

The article I was writing was hardly front-page, but with each question I shook with nervousness.

Yet as one interview became twenty, and an article about parking privileges became an investigation into the firing of a teacher, I increased my confidence as a journalist, willing to probe more into irregularities. I became a better listener.

Sure, journalism plays a vital role in our democracy: keeping those in power in check. But I think what’s even more unique about journalism is its ability to share the stories of those around us to an audience, in a way unlike any other form of expression.

I’ve written stories about an English teacher’s groundbreaking podcast, the school administration’s termination of a student-made website, the cancellation of a movie showing, and much more. I was selected the 2018 Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference Massachusetts Representative, was awarded a Scholastic National Gold Medal, being published in its Best Teen Writing of 2018.

But most importantly, I believe in the power of stories. Joan Didion once said, “we tell ourselves stories in order to live.” Listening to others’ stories and sharing them with the community through a medium like journalism is something that I do not want to give up.

Nathan Zhao

Editor-in-Chief, Wayland Student Press Network

2019 Massachusetts Journalist of the Year

A Link to my Staff Profile on WSPN