STAFF EDITORIAL: One More Edition

Not too far down the road is the town of Evanston. In Evanston is Northwestern University and the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Medill is considered one of the crown jewels of collegiate journalism. It is consistently ranked in the top 10 journalism schools in the nation and boasts an illustrious list of alumni all over the world. They do journalism right.

Until they didn’t.

Ten days ago The Daily Northwestern released an apology to their readership regarding their coverage of Jeff Sessions on campus. They apologized for doing journalism. The opening line of the apology read: “The Daily was not the paper that Northwestern students deserve.” In journalism, we call that the lede (or lead depending on who you talk to) and we were taught that the lede is what is going to capture the audience’s attention and tell the readers exactly what the story is about. Their lede set them up for failure, left a dark cloud over their publication and told their readers that they don’t do journalism well all in ten words. Ten days ago ten words left us asking if Northwestern doesn’t do it write, then will we ever do it right? Does our student journalism program matter if The Daily Northwestern is able to destroy their reputation in one short sentence.

We believe student journalism does matter. 

The journalism world attacked the editorial. Even the dean of their school chose to condemn the students for their decision, offering to “facilitate… dialogue” because he believes that “journalism is under assault in a variety of spheres.” We would like to participate in that dialogue here.

While many people choose not to read our stories or pick up our magazines, we believe every word in them matters. We see students throw our magazines in the trash or criticize sentences for a misplaced or missing comma. We know that not everyone respects what we do and we know that we are a part of what our President calls “the enemy of the people.” 

Antioch, we are not your enemy; we are your champion.

We believe journalism matters because our job is to call out wrongdoings and celebrate successes. We expect our reporters to fact check and tell the stories of those who remain silent. We expect our designers to craft pages that are meant to convey meaning and purpose. We expect our photographers to act morally and ethically. We expect to do what the Society of Professional Journalists believes first and foremost: “tell the truth.”

Yes, journalism is under attack. Journalism is, in some ways, dying. More and more publications are halting printing, with ESPN and USA Today being the two more recent to announce transitioning to a digital-only publication. More and more people are free to Tweet their personal news each day; the New York Times even recently published an entire special section about how Twitter has become the dominant form of news from our President. But what remains is something we value: the truth. For us, journalism is about the truth and sharing it with our community. We believe it is the truth of our community, and we believe that this truth is what connects us, challenges us, and changes us. We believe this truth leads to a better America, one that includes all of us no matter who we are, what we do, who we love, how we look or what we believe. 

 

One more thing: America needs us, too.