Editorial: Is Student Journalism Being Valued?

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Here at The Whit, we are dedicated to getting quality news to the students of Rowan University. And as Glassboro’s sole newspaper, we know that the stories we tell have an impact on the people of this community.

Putting together an issue’s worth of content is an intense job that takes organization, attention to detail and teamwork. Every person on our staff plays a significant role and we take pride in the journalism we produce.

But how is the Glassboro community valuing our journalism?

We live in a world where giant news conglomerates seemingly run the industry, so you might find it a bit silly to get your news from a student-run publication. However, what if we told you that’s exactly the place you should be looking?

The Whit staff works hard to make sure every article that makes it to our website or physical newspaper is as accurate and clear as it can be. Each story goes through three rounds of edits and multiple eyes read the story before we hit “publish.”

This contrasts with the major news networks like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Newsmax, and others that have become a staple in our TV guides within the past few years. These big news organizations’ main motivation isn’t transparency, it’s high ratings and viewership. 

The more eyes on the screen, the more money they make. It’s that simple. What’s the best way to keep eyes glued to the screen? Sensationalizing stories, polarizing and politicizing non-political issues to start.

Student journalists, however, don’t have the same motives as news corporations because they aren’t driven by money. Most student journalists join their college paper because they want to grow as a writer and reporter. Our staff writers aren’t paid, so if they’re balancing jam-packed class schedules, a job, a social life and then, on top of all that, writing an article for the school newspaper; they are doing it because they enjoy the craft.

Another signature move of network news is speedy turnaround, which means being the first to get the story out in order to beat the competing stations. This often leads to misinformation, publishing statements with little to no context and errors.

An example of this is January 2020, when legendary Lakers basketball player Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gigi, tragically died in a helicopter crash. When the news first broke out, many stations were broadcasting the incident without knowing all the facts. Some said Bryant’s entire family was on the aircraft, some said there were other professional athletes. It was a disaster. 

And while most student journalists don’t deal with stories of this magnitude, breaking news still happens on college campuses. For The Whit, there are rallies and protests that spontaneously pop up on campus which can throw our entire issue up on its head. However, instead of trying to push the story out like rapid fire, our goal is to first ask the right questions.

Our next step is to make sure we have all our facts straight and credible sources to back them up. Lastly, we begin our strenuous editing process. It may not be quick, but it saves us from the lawsuits that many large stations find themselves involved in.

We understand there is a noticeable difference between journalists that have years of experience that work for network stations and student journalists who write when they don’t have a lot of homework. However, the integrity in a journalist’s work should always be a reflection of who they are as a person and not of their wallet. Sometimes, you’ll find that the journalist with the most heart is the one inside your classroom.

For comments/questions about this story, tweet @TheWhitOnline or email Thewhitopinion23@gmail.com.

1 COMMENT

  1. As a fellow student journalist from NJCU I completely agree! Being a student journalist is hard work and one with very little reward. However I think it’s easier with social media and more students who take an interest in campus activities.

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