College campuses are famous for their student bodies’ political activism. The expression of political beliefs takes many forms and plays a major role in the interactions within the campus community. Allowing and encouraging students to convey their political views and providing a safe campus environment that will incentivize them to do so is an important duty of the university administration and student organizations, such as college journalism organizations. While this may seem like a biased piece, coming from a college newspaper article, it is important to assert the importance of organizations like this to ensure their continued presence on college campuses.
Student journalists, contrary to popular belief, are not solely journalism or English majors, but are enrolled in a myriad of academic programs which help them bring insight into every collective edition of a newspaper. Contributors and other writers form a very diverse group that expresses the voice of the student body and their generation. Local student writers learn from international and out-of-state students, who inevitably incorporate their experience and cultures in voicing their views. This attests that college journalism organizations provide a safe and accepting platform for a diverse student body to express its views as a voice of its generation.
While faculty members and university administrators may have more writing and journalism experience, they should not be given the authority to run and manage student journalism organizations. Their intervention would hinder the expression of the generational voice that comes from the work of students. Only student input should be encouraged in such organizations in order to ensure they remain a safe and modern platform for college journalists. Moreover, the interference of university staff would obstruct students’ freedom to openly critique the university; it would silence them in this regard. Being able to speak against a university’s injustices as seen by students is crucial to allowing students to express themselves on their campus; attempting to block off student criticism can be tyrannical on the academic institution’s behalf.
Student journalism benefits students, giving them the opportunity to express and improve their voice as well as enhance their academic skills. For instance, the ability to develop arguments in journalism pieces is a very important and useful skill in college and in the workplace. Students who want to pursue a career in journalism learn skills that are directly applicable to their future workplaces because student journalism organizations closely mirror industrial journalism and media companies. Journalists also learn to express arguments and opinions in an effective and persuasive manner without offending or attacking the opposing perspective. To do so, writers must conduct research on a given topic to ensure the credibility and persuasive nature of the piece. Writing articles, consequently, expands a student’s knowledge of current events and other fields of study. This allows not only safe public communication of opinion, but also pushes students to understand each other’s views, especially on controversial topics.
Empowering students should be the priority and goal of every university and student organization. College campuses are diverse in political views and fields of study; it is important to represent as many perspectives as possible. Student journalism is a major way for students to put their voices out there and publish their beliefs and therefore should have a continued presence on campus.
Keren Blaunstein is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.