Journalism is under attack. The past year has seen people on the both sides of the aisle blaming the media for all of the world’s problems. The right side has been calling traditional news organizations “#fakenews,” while the left has been decrying the media for not putting a stop to the rise of Donald Trump. There has also been the issue with actual fake news sites cropping up and spreading false discourse on both sides. The world is a mess and people are starting to put less trust in those that they used to trust. It’s getting to the point that people are becoming more uninformed than they have ever been.
Yet even as the world falls apart, there is a group that is more informed than any generation before them. I am, of course, talking about millennials, and more specifically, college students. The last election saw a massive increase in the presence of college-aged protestors and voices. College students are creating and leading movements across the country and the world in order to bring a voice to a population that would normally be ignored. And in turn, the ones who are sharing these stories with the world are college journalists.
While many people believe that colleges are liberal bubbles where nothing goes wrong, that is simply a misconception. College students face the same troubles that the rest of the world is facing, be it budget issues, income inequality or immigration reform. College campuses are a microcosm of the world around them. Students and administrators clash in the same way that citizens and civil servants clash. Students clash with other students in the same way that people from opposing political parties clash. With all these people having different ideas, there needs to be something that can help make voices heard.
College papers and news organizations are the voice of the student body. And that includes all students, be they liberal or conservative. College news organizations exist to help create a discourse between those with differing opinions. They provide a voice to those who are drowned out by others even if that opinion is not a popular one. They can help bring a campus together in celebration of some kind of achievement or in protest of something unjust. They can help unite students with differing beliefs into finding some kind of common ground.
The world says that college is the place that the next generation trains for the future. If that’s the case, then we should be supporting college journalists as much as we support those who we agree with. College journalists help present ideas that challenge us. They report on groups that we may not agree with but deserve a voice. They also help to critique those in power and help to check that power. Administrators are less transparent with students than politicians are with their constituents. Student journalists keep students completely informed on everything that is happening in the university. College journalists and journalists everywhere are not the enemy, no matter what Trump says. (embed this:)
There are many dark days ahead. In the just over two months that Donald Trump has been in office, we have seen the rights of people taken away. We have seen marginalized groups attacked more than ever. Instead of decrying professional journalists from failing to stop what has happened, we should all be supporting the budding journalists of the next generation. If journalism is in such a horrible place now, then they just might be what we need in order to make the future livable.