COLUMN: We’re doing this for you

Ryan Loew

“Caspian James Crichton-Stuart IV, the Fifth Duke of Cleveland” had a request as he tried to enroll in a Minnesota high school – he didn’t want to make the front page of any newspaper.

But skeptical student journalists at Stillwater Area High School had other plans for the young man who was touring their school, speaking in a British accent and demanding to be recognized as a teenage member of British royalty.

Last week, staff members of the Stillwater’s Pony Express student newspaper exposed “Caspian,” for who he really was – a 22-year-old convicted sex offender. And as “Duke” Joshua Adam Gardner sat in the county jail, according to St. Paul, Minnesota’s Pioneer Press, he still didn’t know how the student journalists thwarted him.

Call it the cocktail that pumps through the arteries of any good journalist: an itching need to know mixed with a responsibility to inform others.

I doubt the staff writers at Stillwater were hoping their peculiar visitor was actually a man convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2003, according the Pioneer Press, but why a member of British royalty wanted to enroll in a Minnesota high school baffled them.

So Pony Express staff writers sat down with him for interviews and began doing some research.

Their homework revealed some discrepancies in the duke’s alleged background. When pressed for more information on his upbringing, Gardner’s accent began to falter. His royal demeanor became agitated, and then came the death-knell for Gardner’s facade. A search of the National Registry of Sex Offenders revealed his true identity.

As Stillwater principal Chris Lennox told the Pioneer Press, “This is an example of the system working.”

Staffers at the Pony Express may have just gotten their drivers’ licenses or just taken their SATs. They may only be in their teens, but journalistically, they get it.

Newspaper journalists have a responsibility to find and present stories that affect the daily lives of readers. We hold people responsible for their words and actions.

Expect the Daily Kent Stater to do just that. This semester, our reporters will be aggressively tackling issues, asking hard questions and keeping your best interests in mind as we sift through the talk to find the truth. Our Editorial Board (a decidedly more moderate one than last semester’s board) will also be taking on news stories and digging deep into the politics of Kent State.

We take our job seriously. We want to be the first ones to let you know what’s happening around you. We are students just like you, yet we have the opportunity to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, as the old newspaper saying goes.

We’re doing it for everyone’s sake.

So as you sit in Bowman Hall waiting for your 9:15 a.m. class to start, pick up a Stater. Read what we have to say and stay an informed member of your community. Go to after you’ve checked your Facebook. There you’ll find photo galleries and video to accompany print stories.

And if any sex-offenders-turned-“British royalty” try to enroll at Kent State, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Ryan Loew is a junior newspaper journalism major and editor of the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].