Student journalists need support from staff, peers

Soon after the start of the new year, the Journalism Education Association declared that 2019 is the year of the student journalist.

While this is a great way to show how supportive organizations can be toward student journalists, some students in this field still feel like that is not the case. Despite the hours editors and journalists put into their product, there is still a lapse in support from other branches of the school.

Whether it stems from a feeling of judgment, or a distrust for the media in general, many young journalists are faced with disdain.

The actions against student journalists happen in many different ways and for many different reasons, all unfortunate and hurtful. Sometimes the negativity that journalists face can even discourage them from wanting to pursue the career altogether and can cause them to feel as if the jobs and work that they do are not enough.

For example, an editor at The Pine Log was working on a project for a class and wanted to address something she had heard.

She emailed a professor on campus, and the professor said he did not want to be associated with the rumor.

According to the email sent, the professor then proceeded to say the editor should write a story on fake news, and offered a quote from Thomas Jefferson saying, “a person that reads nothing at all is better informed that a person
that reads the newspaper.” The actual quote says, “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” Before his run for presidency, Jefferson was a supporter of the free press.

Negative perceptions of the current media should lead us to put even more emphasis on students learning in order to nurture them into the journalists of tomorrow. Helping students grow into ethical professionals while developing their unique journalistic voice is the best way to ensure that journalism heads in the right direction.

This means helping out student journalists when they need a source to quote or taking time to explain a complicated issue instead of stating how wrong they are or emailing them quotes as to why journalism is bad. Supporting future journalists makes future journalism better.

While it is important for student journalists to take the heat from people sometimes, one would think people who work in education would want the best for students in every major at SFA and for them to be able to learn and not have their chosen profession undermined. 

No one likes hearing they are “joining a dying field” or that their peers and future colleagues are misleading the masses. The dislike for journalists needs to be put aside, as many great journalists are pushing for the same type of neutrality and truth that the people want.

Student journalists are the ones who will fight to get the truth to the public and who will work their hardest to be unbiased. Supporting journalists is not just supporting the students themselves; it is supporting the future of journalism as a whole. Support and encouragement is needed to nurture future ethical journalists. It is also important to remember we are learning too, just like all other SFA students.

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