Do people still read the Quill?


For 85 years now, the students enrolled in Journalism have been putting in the work week in and week out to bring Elder High School its monthly edition of The Purple Quill.

In fact, this paper is the longest running school newspaper in Cincinnati.  It shows the dedication and pride the Elder journalists have in creating enjoyable stories for students and faculty to read.

But lately, it seems as if the interest level of getting a fresh edition of the Quill on the last friday of the month has significantly dropped since my freshman year.

As a freshman, I always looked at the people in The Purple Quill and thought they were so cool and one day I wanted to be in that spot.  I finally got my chance junior and it lived up to the hype.  It was the most fun I have ever had in a class.

This year my goal was to reach out to those underclassmen and inspire them to become journalists as well for this great school.  The paper has always been a way to reach out to them easily because every homeroom teacher gives it out to their students.

This year, walking through the halls after a fresh edition has just came out, I have seen an influx of newspapers in recycling bins, trash cans, and even used as paper towels to wipe up spilled water.

So this made me question, do people even read The Purple Quill?  Is all this work we are putting in for nothing?

To figure this out, I surveyed all seven of my classes (including Journalism) to ask if them if they read the paper and the results scare me.

Mahon enjoying the fresh edition

More than half the class in all seven periods, except one, raised there hand meaning that they in fact DO NOT read the Quill.  Journalism was the only class were the majority reads it.

But when asked about the online Quill, the majority in all classes said they occasionally peak at it when bored in a class.

This is not good for writers of the Quill.  We bust out four stories a month mixed with videos and podcasts for nothing.  Occasionally I get the “Oh, I read your story” but that is only once every two months.

So it’s pretty clear that not many students read it, but what about the faculty.

Well after surveying the teachers I have, more than half actually read the Quill, but not online.   It makes sense that the teachers read the paper more than online and the students read online more than the paper.

Time’s have changed and technology is the main source of information from people nowadays.  So this brings up the question, should we transform the Quill to just online?

It seems to me that would be the best way to reach the youth nowadays.  Obviously though, Elder is built upon tradition and getting rid of the longest running student newspaper in Cincinnati won’t excite many people.

But if our goal is to have as many people read our stories, then this is a bright idea.