These photos were submitted by students participating in News-Decoder’s twice-yearly Reporting and Writing Contest. You can see the winning entries among Student Posts.


“Censorship,” by Yatong Shi


By Yatong Shi (Westover School)

Yatong Shi

In my photo report “Censorship,” I explore how the Chinese government is censoring its citizens and others within its borders.

Three of my photos reference recent examples of censorship: the censoring of “Under the Dome,” a documentary about air pollution in China; declaring that child abuse in the Ryb Kindergarten was a rumor; and covering up a concerted government effort to clear out low income populations in Beijing by censoring social media.

Like most people, I felt shocked and helpless when I first heard these stories. I chose to use photography to share some of my feelings. I will not be an indifferent citizen as most people are becoming in China.

 By Charlotte Cohen (Greens Farm Academy)

Charlotte Cohen

I took this photograph at the first women’s march in January, 2017, in New York City, as part of my photo report “Protest Under Control.” I like to photograph protests and political demonstrations.

The protesters were loud and colorful, but this photograph gives the feeling of something managed and contained. This shot was part of a series called “Protest and Patriotism.” Many people might think that these two things are at odds, but I think that true patriotism cannot happen unless one has the right to protest.

“Protest,” by Charlotte Cohen

By Lily Annenberg (Thacher School)

Lily Annenberg

Cuba is filled with colorful streets and lively music. When I had the opportunity to travel to Cuba, I was surprised to see how much of its history has been preserved.

As I explored the country, I met and spoke with many people, including a man who worked at a farm outside of Havana. He told me about his childhood in Cuba and how so much has changed in his lifetime.

I walked around the streets of Old Havana, which were lined with vintage cars. Here I captured an old Cadillac in front of a local restaurant displaying the Cuban flag.

“Cuba,” by Lily Annenberg

By Dylan Norris (Westover School)

The Trans Panic Defense is a legal defense that allows a male defendant charged with murdering a male-to-female transgender individual to claim that he panicked upon learning that his sexual partner was biologically male, not female.

Dylan Norris

This defense is used in an effort to fully or partially acquit murderers. The tactic is legal in 48 states in America, yet very few people know it exists.

My goal is to do whatever I can do to raise awareness about violence happening to the transgender community. All of the people in my images were transgender murder victims. Each of them was mistreated, and each continues to be mistreated after death.

As a member of the transgender community, I am moved by violence against transgender people to explore what I can do to improve matters for the transgender community.

In my series of photos, I projected images of transgender murder victims, then layered graphics that I cut out with an x-acto knife over the photos.

This particular photograph shows Gwen Araujo, a teenage, transgender female who was murdered by four men in 2002. In court, the accused resorted to the Trans Panic Defense.

“Gwen Araujo,” by Dylan Norris

By Clio Morrison (School Year Abroad France/Friends Seminary)

From a young age, my parents taught me that there is nothing a woman cannot do.

This message resonated with me especially this past year. The #MeToo movement has seen countless women come forward to report personal stories of sexual assault, harassment and in some cases rape.

The sheer volume of these stories is deeply upsetting to me. That women must continue to face threats of sexual assault, and abuse can lead to a feeling of weakness and helplessness.

With this in mind, I wanted to create a photo report that celebrates women and empowers them to feel strong even in the face of continuing threats of sexual violence and abuse.

I started this project about a year and a half ago and photographed female friends who are important in my life.

To me, they are sources of strength and pride in being a woman.

“Her Friends,” by Clio Morrison


  1. What is the Great Firewall of China?
  2. Do you think protests are important for democracy?
  3. Who was president of Cuba until 2008?
  4. What is the gay panic defense?
  5. Which French writer and feminist is credited with saying, “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”?


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