Young reporters show journalism’s obituary is premature

It must have been embarrassing for the school system in Pittsburg, Kansas when a group of young journalists did the job the adults who run the system should’ve done.

The Kansas City Star reports the student newspaper conducted an investigation of the background of the principal at Pittsburg High School and found out she was a fraud.

“She was going to be the head of our school, and we wanted be assured that she was qualified and had the proper credentials,” said Trina Paul, editor of the Booster Redux, said. “We stumbled on some things that most might not consider legitimate credentials.”

Students journalists published a story Friday questioning the legitimacy of the private college — Corllins University — where Robertson got her master’s and doctorate degrees years ago. U.S. Department of Education officials, contacted by The Star, confirmed student reports; the federal agency could not find evidence of Corllins in operation. The school wasn’t included among the agency’s list of schools closed since 1986. Robertson earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tulsa.

Students found and The Star confirmed the existence of several articles referring to Corllins as a diploma mill — where people can buy a degree, diploma or certificates. And searches on the school’s website go nowhere. No one from the university responded to emails sent by The Star this week.

The story is everything you want in the next generation: The questioning of what they’re told, the willingness to research it, the courage to speak truth to power.

If students could uncover all of this, I want to know why the adults couldn’t find this..” Maddie Baden, a junior, told the Star.

She’s the one who wrote the original story on the new principal, which was to be a “get to know her” article. But things she was told didn’t up and the student journalists started doing their homework.

Just like the old days.

(h/t: Kari Knudson)