JOHNSON: Tips for High Schoolers Interested in Politics


Friday, January 31, 2020

A little over eight months ago, Lone Conservative published my first article; it was about the difficulties I’ve faced as the child of a police officer. While it wasn’t wildly successful and it didn’t get a ton of interaction on social media, it was a start. Since then I have learned a lot of things about the worlds of politics and journalism that would have been nice to know when I started. Here are a few things I wish I would have known coming in:

Find a subject you are passionate about and stick mostly to it.

Caught in the “left vs right” mindset, it’s tempting to comment on every issue. However, it’s better to become an “expert” on one issue that you are passionate about than trying to argue about every single one. Lone Conservative’s founder and President, Kassy Dillon became known because of her reporting on leftist bias on college campuses. Lila Rose developed her career reporting on abortion. There are moments to be a generalist but overall, you’ll have more early success, grow your credibility, and add more to the conversation by focusing on your beat.

Write about unique ideas and topics.

Publications are looking for unique takes and stories. There are tons of people who could tell you why they don’t like taxes but only a small business owner who has been hurt by taxes has something different to add to the conversation. Unoriginal ideas bombard publications, so having something that makes you different can give you an advantage in publication.

Dealing with controversy

Earlier last year, I found myself in my first controversy. A public figure running for Congress called one of my columns “fake news.” It was a very scary situation but, not knowing what to do, I actually found that staying off of Twitter was the right decision. I said what needed to be said, turned off all notifications to curb the temptation to check, and then went to see a movie. In such times, do anything to get your mind off of the drama and stress.

Find mentors (and don’t be afraid to ask for help)

While intimidating, finding someone to help you write better and navigate the political world is essential. Find someone who you trust to read your writing and be honest with you; it’s only those who will give critical feedback that will help you improve your writing. Mentors can also help you to navigate your ideas, to get a foot into the political world, and to make the best decisions.

Be smart on social media

Social media is a great way for you to grow and connect with your audience but, as we all know, it has its downsides. My suggestion is to set guidelines for yourself and stick with them. I personally don’t engage with an account I don’t know unless it has a similar amount of followers as my account. I always avoid personal attacks or name-calling. There’s no need to look like a jerk on the internet. If you aren’t sure a post is a good idea, don’t post it. No amount of likes or retweets are worth a future career. I would also recommend mass deleting old Tweets. Something that is funny now may be considered edgy in the future.

Most importantly: REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE!

When you start writing and engaging in the political sphere, it’s easier to be like everyone else. Questioning your ideas and changing them is normal and okay. Don’t make bad-faith arguments online. Don’t get a big head. Keep people in your life that will keep you grounded. Stay true to yourself, and the rest will come naturally.

Jeffery Johnson is currently a Senior in high school. He enjoys football, politics and most forms of media. He is working to become an opinion journalist.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Jeffery Johnson

Bentonville High School

Jeffery Johnson is currently a Senior in high school. He enjoys football, politics and most forms of media. He is working to become an opinion journalist.

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