In the post-truth age of fake news and distrust in media, the teen journalists of tomorrow are out here bringing scoops to the masses.
Or, at least, to their local high school newspaper.
A newly hired principal at a Pittsburg, Kansas high school resigned Tuesday after student journalists dug into her past credentials and went full All the President’s Men on what they found.
As the Kansas City Star reports, members of the high school newspaper took issue with their prospective principal’s education, noting that the university where she’d acquired her masters degree and Ph.D. doesn’t appear to hold up under scrutiny.
Indeed, a few clicks around the website for the university in question features links that lead nowhere, grammatical errors and no official address. A Better Business Bureau file on the school notes that its address is unknown, and a U.S. Department of Education spokesperson confirmed to the Star that it could not find evidence that the university has ever operated as a school.
The students spent weeks confirming their suspicions before publishing a newspaper article that led to the principal’s resignation.
In a statement to the Star, the ousted principal argued that the current status of the university “is not relevant because when I received my MA in 1994 and my Ph.D. in 2010, there was no issue … I have no comment in response to the questions posed by PHS students regarding my credentials because their concerns are not based on facts.”
School Superintendent Destry Brown announced the resignation at a school board meeting held Tuesday. He told the Star he encouraged the paper’s investigation, and wants students to get real-life experiences like this one out of their education.
As student journalist Connor Balthazor told the Washington Post, “Wed broken out of our comfort zones so much … Toknow that the administration saw that and respected that, it was a really great moment for us.”
Someone get these teens on the Russia story.