What Happens When You Put A Match Next To A Pine Needle?

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On October 25th, 2016, at approximately 1:52 a.m., The Match received a comment on fellow Match staffer Colson William’s article on Collegiate students’ political views claiming that St. Christopher’s School for Boys’ magazine*, The Pine Needle, is “superior” to Collegiate School’s The Match.

The anonymous comment that started it all. Photo credit: Duncan Owen via The Match

The anonymous comment that started it all. Photo credit: Duncan Owen via The Match.

Stated in the comment:

Dear Collegiate,

I’m sorry, but judging by the quality of your newspaper and your choice to present it in an online format, I will have to say that the St. Christopher’s Pine Needle is clearly the superior newspaper. Nothing beats the feeling of crisp, old-fashioned paper and ink in your hands, or perhaps the sleek stylish sensation of a Pine Needle magazine. It seems to this unbiased observer that serious changes need to be made to “The Match” to keep it up to snuff.



Editor in Chief at The Pine Needle** Gunther Abbot (‘17 at St. Christopher’s) and student contributor Baylor Fuller (‘19 at St. Christopher’s) reaffirmed that no one within The Pine Needle staff wrote the comment or know of anyone at St. Christopher’s who wrote the comment. Nevertheless, The Match feels obligated to respond.

For as long as I can remember there has always been a rivalry between Collegiate and St. Christopher’s. The most recent example of this is the varsity football contest that took place on Saturday, November 5th, Collegiate’s Homecoming Game, in which the Cougars beat the Saints 30-22. (Varsity field hockey was victorious against St. Catherine’s this week as well – 1-0 in overtime.) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (‘07), University of Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight (‘14) and comedian Mike Henry (‘84) all can name Collegiate as their alma mater. Famous writer Tom Wolfe (‘47) can hale St. Christopher’s as his alma mater.  

One aspect of this debate, which might be overlooked at first, is that Collegiate’s publications are all thematically connected. All of our publication titles are connected by a common theme: fire. These include: The Match (student news publication), The Torch (our yearbook), The Flame (Upper School media/art journal), Ember (Middle School media/ art journal) and The Spark (alumni magazine). Our school’s official logo has a flame in it, while St. Christopher’s has a fleur de Lis. The Match uses various social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and our sleek and up-to-date website provides the latest headlines. The way The Match’s news is delivered is ever-changing.

Although my family receives the paper version of The Richmond-Times Dispatch, I ignore it when I sit at my kitchen table. I get a CNN alert on my iPhone anytime a major event or news breaks around the world. I also get my news from reading theSkimm in the mornings as I groggily start my day. I can be found scrolling through Twitter not only smirking at memes, but also reading live news updates from around the world. I find that I read more articles through my Facebook and twitter feeds than in a paper form. I’d rather have a format that is internet-based and sharable. An article from the Pew Research Center stated that 64% of U.S. adults use Facebook. Those statistics are vital in the possibility of an item being successfully viewed and shared with other Facebook users. The Match’s articles are shared through all of its social media outlets, which help bring in traffic to the site. As I’m writing this article, The Pine Needle lacks a Facebook page.

The Match delivers fresh content every eight school days during the school year, while The Pine Needle is published only four or five*** times a year. The Pine Needle was recently transformed into a magazine-based format from its former news format. Several years ago, The Match was published in a printed form, but for cost-saving and efficiency purposes, it transitioned to an online publication. While I do personally respect “the feeling of crisp, old-fashioned paper and ink in [your] hands” as stated by “Redacted,” in the ever-moving world that we live in, having up-to-date news is necessary. An article published by WGBH news stated that print revenues “have fallen from 44.9 billion dollars in 2003, to 16.4 billion dollars in 2014”. It is just the world we live in, but more people prefer to read their news online than in print.

Collegiate has an alumni magazine, The Spark, that is sent out twice a year as well, while keeping our Collegiate School student news separate. In order to obtain a copy of The Pine Needle, I had to reach into my connections of Facebook Messenger, and follow through with a risky delivery from a St. Christopher’s parent. It would also be fair to note that I thought some aspects of The Pine Needle were well-executed by its staff. Although I do prefer to have online and up-to-date news, I did enjoy the high quality photos taken by The Pine Needle’s staff.

The Match is currently being published in an online, up-to-date format with forward thinking student journalists with a melting pot of views. The Match is being written as both an English class elective and as a student club to allow all Collegiate students the opportunity to write for The Match. The Match staff has covered topics that provoke discussion on sensitive and current issues, such as politics, race, sexuality, and diversity. I have yet to see an article about diversity at St. Christopher’s in The Pine Needle.

Having the freedom and ability to write articles on critical issues of the day is an important part of being a student journalist. Being a current student at a private JK-12 school, the ability to write about topics that interest and excite me is a luxury that I sometimes take for granted. I am very fortunate that the Collegiate School administration supports student journalism, unlike some high schools in the U.S.

St. Christopher’s, we mean no harm. But we felt it our duty to respond to “this unbiased observer.” Have a great day!

Featured image credit: Vlastik Svab.

UPDATED Nov. 16, 2016: 10:23 p.m.


* This sentence previously described The Pine Needle as a “school literary and news magazine.”

** This sentence previously described Abbot as a “Junior Editor.”

*** This sentence previously stated that The Pine Needle published “only twice a year.”


About the author

Duncan is a Junior at Collegiate School. When not writing for The Match, he is found either sleeping or trying to make it big on Soundcloud.