The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

Speaker Mike Johnson, giving a speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Eye on the Prize: Part 4
Mason Dwek, TBN News Director • April 10, 2024

Step 4: Collaborate with Speaker Mike Johnson On October 25, 2023, history was made when, for the first time, a second Speaker of the House...

Keynote speaker Adam Harris addresses community on MLK day

Adam+Harris+addressing+the+community+in+the+FC+Gym+at+MLK+Day.+
Konstantin Miebach
Adam Harris addressing the community in the FC Gym at MLK Day.

Highlighted in this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day programming were remarks from keynote speaker, college admissions expert, and journalist, Adam Harris. Following a warm introduction from Tower’s co-Editor-in-Chief Lucas Seguinot, Harris deliberated upon the history of racial inequity threatening widespread access to college education and the according inequities that many HBCUs (historically Black colleges or universities) and other colleges serving large minority populations experience in terms of accessing resources and funding. 

“Hearing Adam Harris speak about the historical and modern implications of the racial weight in the college process made me reconsider the weight that we societally place on where and what people study. If the system of admission and experience within college is so clearly unjust and slanted, why do we view it as the all-determinate future?” Violet Paull ‘24 said. 

His speech reflected his long and successful career as a journalist publishing work largely about policy affecting college and university education. Currently, Harris is a staff writer for the Atlantic magazine, though he has reported for the Chronicle of Higher Education and ProPublica, and has had writing appear in several acclaimed publications. Notably, Harris also wrote a book in 2021 about governmental failure to serve Black individuals and minority communities in higher education called The State Must Provide: Why America’s Colleges Have Always Been Unequal―and How to Set Them Right, published in 2021. 

During the second breakout session on MLK Day, Tower staff, TBN staff and Intro to Broadcast students had the opportunity to ask Harris questions about his background in media, his expertise in college and university-related policy and his professional life more broadly. 

A recurring theme in this discussion was the importance of local journalism and the various moving parts that can contribute to its success. Tower’s identity as a school newspaper means that it is naturally hyperlocal; recognizing this, many students expressed concerns about not being able to achieve as much change as Harris has in his career thus far with such a limited platform. 

In response to the lead copy editor of Tower, Aurora Rose Horn ‘24, asking how student journalists can raise awareness for national and global issues when the scope of our work seems so small comparatively, Harris responded, “Every story is a local story, and one of the first big national stories that I wrote was actually the most local story you can imagine. It was a group of 11 and 12 year olds in Beaumont, Texas who had received death threats for kneeling during the national anthem.”

He continued, “I went down there and just said I’m going to write two or three paragraphs about the national context here, but everything else in the story was about these 11 and 12 year olds. So I think as student reporters, looking at the issues on campus, looking at the issues in the area and in the community, and how they are indicative of these larger national issues is one way that you could do it [raise awareness for systemic issues].”

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