Support student journalism, it makes our campus better

At a time when there are constant attacks on news reporting as bias or “fake news,” I unequivocally stand up for journalism and – in particular – the brave undertaking of student journalists here on campus. Both MNG Media and The Wichitan are indispensable outlets of journalism that ought to be supported by all students.

It should go without saying that journalism is an incredibly demanding profession. However, I’d argue that student journalism poses a unique set of challenges that, if met, require the highest form of praise. The relationship student journalists have with their readers distinguishes them from the journalists you may observe outside of campus. They not only have the role of informing the campus community with accurate and relevant news, but they also have the challenging responsibility of being the voice of the student body.

Both forms of journalism are difficult, but I want to focus on why it is important for us students to have real journalists representing us in public and on the record. Freethinking and critical discourse (among other things) are what makes the college experience indispensible. However, without student-led news media, these pillars would face constant degradation. Student journalists selflessly foster an environment where controversial, valuable or secretive stories are allowed to be revealed. They do it not only for themselves, but, more commonly, for the ordinary student who wants his or her story to be heard in a sea of noise.

Students’ voices can further be channeled through the ever-so prominent editorial page. On the back side of every Wichitan front-page, students can express their views and perspectives directly to the campus community through column pieces. Unlike editorial sections you may find in the mainstream news media, this space is explicitly for students. If you have a viewpoint that others may connect with or find interesting, the editorial page is the platform for you.

The importance of student journalism is further exemplified by their adherence to independence. The news media outlets on campus are exclusively run by students just like you and me. They don’t take directives from administrators and their grades are not dependent on if a story is well-received. Given that no MSU staff or faculty member can silence our student journalists, they (student-run outlets) have the ability to be genuine watchdogs over our university.

Because I am not studying mass communication, I was previously apathetic to the journalism at our university. Yet, after witnessing first-hand our journalists’ commitment to fair and accurate reporting, I now have a deep appreciation for the importance of their work. I urge everyone to support student journalists in whatever way you can. Their dedication to independent news media makes us all informed and, most importantly, betters our university.

Markell Braxton-Johnson is a sports and leisure studies junior.