Cobb County temporarily blocks student newspaper website


Jordan Grubb

Senior Sam Fulkerson and newspaper mentor desperately attempts to read The Chant, but Cobb County filters prevent him.

Sophia Mapua, Reporter

On August 25th, Cobb County’s computer network filtered The Chant. The system blocked the online newspaper for just under 24 hours, limiting access to teachers and students on campus who attempted to view via the Intranet or Cobb County network.

Because it surpassed the number of views on NC’s school website, the student newspaper underwent a temporary blockage. The hinderance occurred because of Cobb County’s meticulously structured system; internet providers will automatically filter anyone who racks up more views than the school’s website. Their intention is to prevent any impersonation or security risks. This intention, however, resulted in an inconvenience for newspaper staff members. Not only did the blockage disrupt the newspaper’s workflow, but it also diminished the website’s legitimacy.

Ms. Kovel, the newspaper’s adviser, went through a tedious process of solving the issue.

“I was panicked for my students who required viewers to maintain their credibility. I had to go through four people and explain we were a news website and what we were all about. We weren’t just doing things to mess up the county,” she stated.

Additionally, Cobb County blocked the website because of its faulty categorization. The Chant accidentally received classification as a personal blog rather than a news website. While it does feature social media, the newspaper executes it in an appropriate manner, such as the informative Twitter feed @NCHSNewspaper.

“Cobb County has social media links on their own website. Every website has the potential to be inappropriate. I can understand why they could block it, but sometimes it’s just unnecessary, especially when you can’t see our newspaper at school,”  junior and student reporter Fatima Elfakahany said.

To avoid the problem from happening again, county officials must recognize the importance of student journalism. School newspapers improve communication and portray the school’s image to the community. They also enable students to express themselves through their writing, and refine their skills along the way.

Ms. Kovel emphasized this point when she commended her students:

“[They] are creating a really landmark site that has a merit as a legitimate news source. [Students] have such powerful voices and are savvy about real issues. People in general should give teenagers the credit when it’s due.”