Anjali Reddy | Why I joined The Pennsylvania Post.

A freshman’s perspective on why she joined Penn’s newest free press.

Anjali pictured a year ago after accepting her admission to Penn. / Photo credit: Anjali Reddy

By Anjali Reddy

By the end of high school, each of my clubs became a key part of my identity. I was a singer (especially in the shower), an improviser, an Indian classical dancer, a squash player, a tennis player, a debater, a math teamer, and a journalist—nothing out of the ordinary for a Penn student. But my school only had so many extracurricular options, and what was college for if not to expand your horizons? So, I made a point to seek out different opportunities.

Soon enough though, I found myself longing for each of these things. I got involved in Club Squash. I joined the Polybian Society to debate and discuss political topics, and, as weird as it may sound, I took more math classes with their weekly Friday quizzes taking me back to the thrill of my competition days. Still, nothing could or would feed my journalistic craving.

In high school, I had spent all four years working for my school newspaper The Vanguard—first as a writer, then as Off-Campus Editor, and finally as one of six senior editors as the Project Editor. The Projects Editor planned and executed the four most-read pages of the newspaper: the CT and the DT. The CT stood for current topics. With each monthly issue, we covered one of many pertinent current topics from an angle only our paper could provide by interviewing relevant students, teachers, and alumni. The DT stood for double truck—the newspaper’s two centerfold pages. We used this space to present the results of anonymous surveys of the school community. Sometimes, the CT’s and DT’s visuals received more thought than the content itself. These sections could be whatever I dreamt them to be.

In my second semester at Penn, I had not quenched my thirst for journalism. My first thought was to join The Daily Pennsylvanian (The DP), and although all my friends on the paper loved it, I knew nothing would resemble my priceless time at The Vanguard, that is until I learned about The Pennsylvania Post

When Lexi introduced me to her plans for a student-run independent, heterodox newspaper, I was excited. In high school, our content was not fully devised and written independently from the school, as they funded us. 

Soon after, I went to my first Penn Post meeting—my official introduction to the paper; what it stood for; and the people, some familiar, some new. Among the first words out of Lexi’s mouth were, “We are making a conscious effort to ensure this doesn’t become a conservative paper because oftentimes projects like these do.”

At the meeting, I also met Nicolas Casey, who said he had mapped New York’s COVID-19 cases before The New York Times and explained his hope to create data visuals like The Economist. From this, I knew I could make my time on this paper, like Projects Editor on The Vanguard, whatever I dreamt it to be.

You may be wondering, “Why did Anjali Reddy write this piece?” During one late-night conversation, my friends asked me, “Why did you join The PP?” (Here, The PP is an affectionate name many have given our paper to correspond with The DP’s.) I responded with a five-minute soliloquy on why I joined the paper, which in my strongest former debate kid style, adequately persuaded my friends about my choice. I was starting to realize that people had a faulty understanding of what The PP stood for and that I had delivered that soliloquy or some abbreviated version of it one too many times. I felt the need to urgently inform you that we aren’t just a karma-worthy topic of conversation on Sidechat. Joining The PP will reward you with good (and real) karma simply by adding your perspective to the discussion.

Many people around campus have incorrectly assumed The Penn Post is conservative because several individuals identifying as such hold key positions. Some people have also claimed that our desire to promote “free speech” makes our mission “conservative.” I did not realize that free speech was a partisan issue, but please comment or respond if you think so. I can say with full confidence, that if The Penn Post were conservative, I wouldn’t be writing, let alone editing, for this paper.

I am a Boston-born child to small-town-India-born parents. And yes, by Boston, I mean Boston suburbs. I’ve dressed up as RBG for every single Halloween since 6th grade. That’s eight Halloweens with many more to come. Being born and raised in Boston, I have grown up exposed to people and thoughts that should make me live and breathe liberal. But as a debater, having argued for positions I don’t always believe in, I sought to soak up the experiences of people from economically, intellectually, and politically different backgrounds from myself whenever I could. My liminal identity as a child of immigrants and my experiences have inspired me to understand people beyond their identities. Our humanity goes beyond the delineation of two parties.

The first piece I wrote for a CT was about a senior elective called Beyond Our Echo Chambers. I interviewed seniors from a school in the Louisiana Bayou partnering with my school to bring seniors with different political perspectives and upbringings together. Until then, I strongly believed we needed to reduce fossil fuels at any cost. In interviewing a senior from New Orleans, I learned that most people working in the oil industry also find fossil fuels harmful. With limited alternative occupations available locally, they continue this work because their families have worked in the industry for generations. I still believe in alternative energy sources, but researching the opposite side pushed me to approach dissenting beliefs with curiosity.

The reason I joined The Penn Post, in spite of multiple people having opinions I disagree with, is the same reason why I joined Polybian. Having been exposed to very few conservative people, thoughts, and values prior to Penn, I do not want to go through life without understanding the viewpoints of half my country, whether I agree with them or not. Our country is more polarized than ever. It is this exact lack of understanding that has led to our distrust of each other and our government. We have to rebuild this trust. If RBG and Justice Scalia could be friends, so can all of us. Being perceptive to viewpoints opposing yours and responding with your own thoughts is the best way to promote understanding. It’s an open discussion. In a sense, The Penn Post strives to be like Polybian—a place where people share their opinions, respond to those they disagree with and realize these viewpoints did not just pop into existence. Rather, they are parts of a human, shaped by living, that someone was willing to share with the world.

Anjali Reddy is a freshman in the College studying Economics and Cognitive Science from Newton, MA. Anjali is also the Data Editor for The Pennsylvania Post. Her email is

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