At the beginning of my year as editor-in-chief, I made it my goal to cover the important issues on campus. I knew this would mean the articles we ran in the Collegian wouldn’t always be the feel-good features students like to read; however, this doesn’t mean what we are doing at the Collegian is “wrong” or “biased.” It simply means the student journalists are trying to do their job to keep the student body informed.
I subscribe to Thomas Carlyle’s ideology that establishes journalism as the fourth estate. Under this school of thought, it is a journalist’s obligation to educate readers on current events and issues to create an effective, active democracy. Journalists should not be afraid to cover the news, even if it means bringing up uncomfortable or unpopular issues. In my opinion, it is a journalist’s duty to do this to create a more informed readership.
My intention as editor-in-chief is to provide answers to students’ questions, instead of allowing speculation from the rumors around campus — or complete apathy about the well-being of the college. In Carlyle’s thinking, an ill-informed or apathetic populous accepts a passive role in societal or institutional change, bowing to the decisions of those in power.
The articles that have been published in the Collegian may not be as fun to read or as easy to digest as a feel-good feature, but they are essential in initiating an informed discourse between students and administration, which can lead to beneficial changes to the student experience at HC.
The Collegian also serves an important role in facilitating intellectual conversations between students and administration so we, the students, can positively shape Hastings College to fit our needs. If our student journalists fail to cover the important issues, our student body may not know how they can influence the evolution of the institution. They could even lose their chance to add their voice to the discourse.
This year, the reporters with HC Media followed the HC presidential search, the prioritization and reshaping process, the discussions to dissolve the Student Judiciary Council (SJC) and any other happenings that students were questioning. The articles lead to further discussions on campus changes that would directly affect the student body; students began to share their informed opinions on what these changes meant to them.
This process was seen in action with the Collegian’s coverage of the SJC discussions. Prior to its coverage, students were unfamiliar with SJC and its functions. After engaging with the articles about this issue of potentially dissolving the council, students reached out to their senators to make their voices heard. The Student Association Senate hosted several informational sessions about SJC and ultimately decided to keep the organization. Although the SJC coverage was not extremely popular among student government, it resulted in a decision that was generally reflective of the student body’s opinions.
The Collegian is a driving force for campus discourse. The student newspaper was established by students to provide a voice for themselves so that they could actively shape the collegiate culture. Students who are interested in influencing campus conversations by serving as journalistic liaisons for their peers are encouraged to write for the Collegian. Whether you submit an opinion piece or join our staff as a general news reporter, your voice is always welcome within our pages.
Although not all of the Collegian’s articles have been accepted with open arms across campus, I will continue to encourage my staff members and peers to investigate the tough issues on campus. For me, it is synonymous with upholding the voices of my peers. It is synonymous with empowering students to learn about issues to cultivate a voice for themselves.