I was appalled when the district announced the reopening of schools – a move that would allow students the choice to remain virtual, but would fail to grant district teachers the same choice. I wrote a letter to the AISD superintendent of schools to advocate for my teachers. After writing my first draft, I sent it to my writing coach, David Knight, who, upon reading it, suggested I send it to a local paper as an open letter. My contact at the Austin American-Statesman indicated that they don’t publish open letters as a policy, but was interested in having me revise it into an Op-Ed format to be featured in Sunday’s paper. It was a Friday and over the course of 24 hours, I revised my story six times. Each time, the Statesman editor would send me thoughtful comments to help me understand the process. She was also very diligent about facts. Each line needed to be verifiable and if I couldn’t verify one, it would be omitted from the story. It was tedious work, but gave me an idea of the checks professional newsrooms go through before publishing an article. Now, as editor-in-chief, I continue to implement the same style of line-by-line diligence and thoughtful commentary, not only to ensure that The Shield is publishing its best possible stories but to ensure staffers feel proud of their stories as well.

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