Archive | 4:12 pm

Protecting your community with journalism

15 Apr

Illustration by RedPeggy.

What if journalists acted as though they were the sole guardians of the community?

This was one of the questions brought up by Rob Curley, new media editor at the Las Vegas Sun, during his keynote last night at the Missouri College Media Association awards.

He said it’s up to the journalists to create community pride and protect it. To not just expose corruption and broken systems because it sells papersĀ  — but expose it because the community deserves better than that. Expose it because the citizens need to know who is acting like their community doesn’t matter, when they (and the press) knows it does.

He said no one sits down with their newspaper (or the website on their iPad) to simply find out what happened yesterday. They want to know why something happened yesterday and what that means today.

Curley talked about the challenge of doing this in Las Vegas, where the population changes rapidly. The people living there now are not the same people who lived there 10 years ago. This is the same challenge we face at Park University, and at every college newspaper. Most of our audience is only our audience for four or five years, at most. They come in as freshman or transfers, read our paper, and graduate.

Over the past three years, the Stylus has chronicled the struggles our school seems to have with pride. Compared with other schools, it seems like our pride is lacking. We don’t have full stands at the sporting events and some days it seems like you hear more people complaining about something at school than proud of the education.

As editor of the Stylus, it’s one of my goals to change this attitude. I truly believe Park University is a fantastic school, and I’m proud to be a Pirate. Someone in the admissions department once told me, “Our strategy is to pick up a rock and see which ants are kinda weird and not following the same path as the others. We admit those ones.” I love that. I think of Park as the place that will give students a real chance – a chance to break out of poverty, a chance to finally get their education, and a chance to define their own destination.

That’s why it’s equally important for us to feature the avid volunteers and innovative academics alongside the stories of students just trying to find their way. We need both kinds of people at Park, and both stories.

Whenever we break news that isn’t exactly favorable to the university, one of my classmates will inevitably ask me if I hate Park. They’re sure we investigate because we all hold some vendetta against the school.

Thanks to Curley, now I know how to answer that question (besides with surprise). We investigate because we love Park. We talk about the problems so they can be fixed, because our community deserves better. No one on staff wants to report problems, but we have to. It’s our job, our university, and our community pride at stake.