One of my new tasks at my new job is helping to edit the student newspaper, which is basically a dream come true. I had my 20th high school reunion this past weekend, and one of the things that people seemed to keep mentioning was how I always knew what I wanted to do. This, essentially, is true. Like any high school/college student, I had several identity crises over how exactly I wanted to make a living or whether I was any good at anything at all – but yeah, starting from eighth grade on, I knew journalism was in my future. In high school, I edited the same paper I now help advise and had summer internships at the Times-Picayune and Gambit. And then I went off to J-school – the best one there is, hurray, hurrah, Mizzou, Mizzou! – and honed my skills. I realized fairly early on that investigative journalism was not in the cards for me: I’m nonconfrontational to a fault and would probably end up apologizing and crying as soon as someone refused to answer a question. My senior year, my capstone class was working on a magazine called Global Journalist put out by the International Press Institute. One of my jobs was compiling a running feature called “Death Watch” about journalists killed in the line of duty. This semester was when Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered, and of course we covered it, and I cried every night for two weeks and had nightmares.

So. That was more than enough to send me into marketing for a couple of years and then subsequently into the home and garden journalism world in which I might get tired of not doing anything more journalistic than fact-checking whether your bookends came from Hazelnut and making sure Gerrie Bremermann’s name was never misspelled but didn’t have to worry about not making it home to my family one night.

All of which is to say that when my coworker who advises the newspaper told me that she initially balked when students wanted to do a poll about the best Starburst flavor but later admitted she was wrong when it went on to become one of the most popular things the paper has ever run – well, she was preaching to the choir.

Yes, high school newspapers are important training grounds, and I could go on at length about my thoughts on Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier, but listen, if the kids want to do a poll on Starburst, let ‘em! No one is going to end up in the Supreme Court over whether pink is better than yellow, and there is something to be said for that. Journalism has to be a balance of what people need to know and what people want to know, and I’m only cut out for one of those things.

And with Halloween just around the corner, all we’ve been talking about for days is candy. So I present to you, with no claim that this is hard-hitting journalism, my Top 5 Halloween candies, and I encourage you to debate in the comments.


5. Sour Patch Kids – or really, sour anything.

4. Peanut M&Ms – they almost seem healthy somehow

3. Twizzlers – this might be my own quirk, but slightly stale Twizzlers are the best!

2. Twix – as a kid, I used to pull the chocolate-caramel part off and eat it while leaving the cookie part in my cheek to slowly dissolve. We will all pretend that I no longer eat Twix this way because I am an adult.

1. Milky Way Dark – truly ideal because Ruby hates it, so I get to steal all of hers and she doesn’t even complain


Agree? Disagree? Want to discuss free speech on high school campuses or the role of journalists in a democracy? Hit me up in the comments with your thoughts on Reese’s peanut butter cups (overrated) and Tinker vs. Des Moines (rightly decided).