Journalism: Dying with the times

When paper journalism dies, where will student newspapers stand?


Butler University, Indianapolis. A faculty staff member in charge of monitoring the school newspaper, was fired on several charges, one of which seemed fabricated.  She was told that she was too controlling of the stories and what the students wanted to publish. Her students rang outcry that she was an amazing teacher and allowed them all the freedom they could hope for in the news that they pursued.

In a power move, a public relations officer at the school was placed in charge of the school newspaper. Whether censorship was the intent, the student body caught on quick that the move made it all too easy for the school to monitor what stories were published and to nix ones that may paint the school poorly. They appointed a permanent teacher shortly after and the whole incident was brushed behind them.

Texas. A high school newspaper caused outrage after making controversial claims about race relations. The school has taken great care to remove any trace of the article, and several members of its journalism department have been put under questioning.

Louisville. The University of Louisville officially ends its student journalism programs.

With the stigma, the funding, and the controversy it opens up for the school and student body, it seems like student journalism may be fit to die with the times. And why not?

Nowadays, its seems all too common that people get their news from social media. If you have a Twitter, you can get the news tweeted from your local news stations, national  news stations, celebrities that you like, or your friend Carl. News comes from every “” domain that is specifically tailored to you or to your very specific set of ideas and values. You can even glean news from Instagram and Snapchat, if you are resourceful.

Whether it’s word of mouth or WordPress, the TV or Twitter, the news is instant and its tailored. You can see the exact information you want when you want it. So why read the newspaper? Even more related to my topic, why read the student newspaper?

It seems outdated, controversial, expensive, so why bother with it? Well, there are a number of good reasons. The student body needs a voice, even if it isn’t heard.

The Cincinnati Enquirer Building

But the news is so different now. Newspapers especially face modern trouble. Even The New York Times has had several reporter layoffs and pay cuts, causing walkouts among editors and, allegedly, clearing its full time reporter staff down to a bare-bones hand full. If the New York Times, winner of over 120 Pulitzer Prizes, is having to find new ways to survive the information era, what hope does a student newspaper have?

Elder has a strong Journalistic community, thankfully. We have a well staffed, produced, and written paper that has a dedicated reader-base among our students. We value our journalism.

Our president, commander in chief of the purple army, Lou Langen, commented, “I read The Quill to know that my classmates think. It can highlight all the good our school really does, and it can start discussion.”

Meanwhile, Nick Sullivan, one of the creative minds behind “Cory Burger” and “the Seth Series,” and former Opinion Section Editor of The Quill supposes, “Its good to learn the student perspective. Plus, it uses relevant language and references to our generation.” As he goes on to say, yo, it is also fundamental for any student who wants to actually study journalism.

Finally, drawing studio 1 student Anthony Holmes (sorry, Anthony, I don’t know what else you do) thinks simply, “It lets the student body express how they feel about the news.”

It finds its footing in a community like Elder. That much we can discern. And, more than just our opinion, it seems like all my interviews mention getting to know the community’s opinion. In our case, Elder’s opinion. There is still the question of it’s continuation. Before you get nervous, none of us here at The Purple Quill have seen head nor hair of any intent to end the Newspaper. In fact, just the establishment this year of ENN seems to reassure that Elder is interested in putting resources towards letting the student express themselves.

Faculty seem very sure that student journalism will no only persevere in the Elder community, but nation-wide.

Mr. Rogers, teacher of our journalism class, for those of you who do not know, believes, “even if the media changes, it will still be more about storytelling. As long as people feel like they want to share their ideas, like they have a story to tell, journalism will be alive and well.” He bases this from his own history in the news, writing his own column titled “View From the Stands” back at McNicholas High School.

Liking the sound of the “Storytelling through journalism” approach, I decided to conclude my interviews with an English teacher. Not just “a teacher” however, I found the apex teacher of English, the department head, Mr. Alig. Despite having only tentative legal standing to publish his statement, I’m prepared to go to court to leave you with his quote:

“E.M. Forster once asked, ‘How do I know what I think until I see what I say?’  Indeed, articulating one’s ideas in written form (that is, seeing what one thinks) is the surest sign that one truly understands his or her own thoughts.  This, in turn, leads to meaningful dialogue, which seems all the more necessary if we ever intend to truly know one another.  Journalism plays a strong role in both writing and the exchange of ideas; its importance, therefore, cannot be ignored.”

Who knows, someday The Quill may have more permanent reporters than The New York Times.