By Jonathan Lopes
According to College Media Matters, there are between 1,800 and 2,000 student-led news outlets nationwide. These papers are typically student-run with a faculty or staff adviser. The purpose is to communicate and engage the student body resulting in a more informed campus community. It helps bridge the gap between those active and involved and those in control making decisions. At every college I’ve read the paper to know what’s going on, fun stuff to do and if there are any issues people are talking about along with campus resources.
It serves a great way for aspiring journalists and English majors to gain experience in this important and influential field. Student newspapers not only serve to inform a college’s students about campus life, academic and student affairs, but also seem to provide a unique perspective on local and global news. I have pals who have worked on the campus newspaper. It can be a volunteer role. Some are even paid and/or receive internship credit. As someone who appreciates the effort, it’s cool and interesting to learn more about the behind the scenes aspect of a school via the newspaper.
Involvement in newspaper development is undervalued as well. The experience itself is invaluable and allows one to explore different aspects of the paper. Even if you are not going to go into the newspaper world, it gives you great experience with writing and time management. Working at a student newspaper also means you are a student and representative leader. Limitations include what you can do at the paper, interviews you can do and time you can dedicate to the paper. However, it does prepare one for the deadlines in a real newspaper situation.
The most important benefit is learning the role of public feedback and connection. Deadline pressures are consistent. Term papers are notorious for deadlines, yet having multiple print deadlines weekly educates the importance of planning and preparation as well as how vital facts and structure are. Further, it is an opportunity to learn from mistakes from sources, spelling, format, etc. Student journalists learn to see stories everywhere and communicate them with diverse audiences.
It is well known that the nation’s general circulation newspapers have increasingly disappeared and college newspapers can help bridge the gap. The newspaper is a great source for students to catch up on what is happening around their campus. From sports to politics to parking updates, the school newspaper is a great source of information around campus.
Student newspapers are an influential part of college and university life as well as providing a voice to the voiceless. Pick up a copy. Also, a lot of schools are expanding to mobile apps as well as websites. It is easy access and they are probably free!