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SHS Hosted HYPE Conference Tackles Role of Media


The following article is from the Union Leader:


Media's role in society to be debated at youth conference


DURHAM – The role media should play in society will be debated by 1,100 high school students during an upcoming conference at the University of New Hampshire.

The annual Hosting Young Philosophy Enthusiasts Conference hosted by Souhegan High School’s Ethics Forum started in 2010 and over the years conversations have focused on happiness, generosity, progress and what it means to be a citizen.

Coordinator Christopher Brooks says students chose to focus on the media this year because they want to discuss the value of journalism in modern society.


“They see the bad, the ugly conversations between people at times, and they are upset by it,” Brooks said.

Brooks said students also picked keynote speaker Trent Spiner, executive editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Spiner offered a sneak peek of his message last week. He says there will always be a deep human desire to understand our lives in the context of a larger world even though the delivery of content is changing. He said the media will always be a part of that.

After Spiner speaks to the group in the morning, sessions for students and educators will start. Brooks said that in small groups students will be able to discuss the media’s role in society with their peers and experts who will help shape their ideas and perspectives.

Brooks said HYPE is unique because it was created by high school students for high school students. When the conference began at Souhegan High School in Amherst, they had approximately 120 students in attendance.


This year, students from New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts will take part in the conference at UNH in Durham. The Philosophy Department there has endorsed the Ethics Forum and is a major sponsor of HYPE.

The HYPE project and its affiliated program, Students Practicing Ethical Leadership, provides students from all over the greater New England region the chance to have discussions at large and small student-led conferences at a number of venues in New Hampshire and Massachusetts under the guidance of St. Anselm College’s Center for Ethics in Business and Governance.

This year’s HYPE Conference will take place March 14 at the Hamel Student Recreation Center at UNH. For more information, or to register, contact Brooks at