Reported by: Pearl Cooper
Chances are, you have heard of Hawktalk– the student run podcast that has been attracting the attention of CPPHS students and staff since the school year began. The podcast has been the subject of praise and controversy, but has shown no sign of disorganizing. What is Hawktalk? Why was it started? Who is involved? Tailwind News got personal with Senior William Cleary, one of the founders of Hawktalk, to get some answers.
Hawktalk is a podcast and twitter feed that was started by William Cleary and fellow senior Grayson Campbell last summer. The project started as a rejected CAS project for IB and has since grown into a larger phenomenon. Cleary and Campbell work on the podcast along with many other students from all grade levels, who have asked to remain anonymous.
Cleary said, “we really just wanted to start something that would bring the school together around a common theme, and in doing so, [produce] some hard-hitting journalism because that’s what’s really important to us.”
Hawktalk’s twitter feed is more active than its podcast, due to the busy schedule that comes with being full-IB students who are also active in sports teams and the drama club. “We try to get some good quality podcasts out there [whenever] we can,” Cleary said. “We talk about important issues that go on in school, but we also talk about things that go on outside of school.”
Hawktalk has been the subject of controversy due to the nature of some of the content covered on the podcast and twitter feed. Their twitter account has also been hacked, and consequently can be found on twitter under the handle: @notfakehawktalk.
Students at CPPHS are wary of Hawktalk, and advise others not to get too worked up over it. Senior Meave Holman said, “Hawktalk is like the Onion of Corning. I think people take it too seriously sometimes.” Junior Quinn Nicholson agreed with her, adding, “Hawktalk is an example of satire.”
For those not aware, satire is the use of humor, irony, and exaggeration to criticize society, particularly politics or other current issues. Satire can be an effective form of journalism, as it is meant to expose shameful aspects of society and can cause reflection and social change. However, there is always the possibility of satire going too far and becoming offensive. According to an article in the New York Review by Tim Parks titled, “The Limits of Satire”, “the worst case is when satire… provokes the very behavior it condemns.”
Although the podcast has been controversial due to some of its content, which could be seen as insensitive, Cleary expressed that he wants the podcast to unify the school, not divide it. He explained, “we try to shed a little humor, and to make everyone’s day a little better.”