Very few Staples students can say they have “Good Morning America”, the “Today Show”, “NY Pix11” and “Business Insider” begging for an interview. But Will Haskell ’14 can. Haskell’s article “A Gossip App That Brought My High School to a Halt” about the Yik Yak app that sent Staples spiralling last week was published in The Cut, New York Magazine.
Haskell wrote the article the Saturday after the popularity of the app simmered from its explosion on Thursday, April 24.
“I felt that the Staples experience with Yik Yak held a national message, and by discussing the specifics of what happened at Staples, I could explore and talk about a new theme in the world of cyber-bullying,” Haskell said.
Haskell said he has loved his four years at Staples but felt that it was important to show the world that even at one of the best high schools in Connecticut, this can happen.
The concept of the article was much easier than the execution. “It was difficult reaching out to targets because I knew that the last thing they wanted was more publicity,” Haskell explained. Even so, he was able to find a few anonymous sources.
The editors of The Cut liked his piece and published it far quicker than Haskell had expected, but for Haskell the shocking recognition came from the student body. “I was sitting in [government class] watching people react on Twitter and Facebook, and it was unbelievable. I didn’t know which I was more scared about- the reaction within Staples or the reaction outside of Staples,” Haskell said.
On the other hand, Haskell has received some criticism. By including posts from the site with anonymous names, some say he granted the bullies a larger audience. While he is has apologized to those upset, he had a distinct reason for including the posts. “I wanted people to be forced to look these posts in the eye,” Haskell said.
“It might have been easiest to just shove everything that was said under a rug and try to forget. But then what would protect us against Yik Yak’s fast approaching competitor [Gaggle]?” Haskell concluded.