This semester has been a tough but affirming year for our staff. In over 120 pages of newsprint and an untold number of late-night hours, we produced original reporting covering events across every campus. We hosted lively debate on topics from free speech to Israel-Palestine. Our columnists highlighted campus style and kept mainstream TV humble. And our sports reporting spanned play-by-play live tweeting to features on concussions and sexual assault.
Along the way, our staffers and we on the editorial board have learned a huge amount about how to be effective student journalists, from comma placement to autofocus technique. And over the past couple weeks, as we fought for our right to print, we have engaged in serious self-reflection about our overall role on campus.
We’re proud of the big stories and the Facebook analytics, but more proud of what we’ve learned.
As students, we came to these colleges expecting and welcoming changes to our worldviews. By learning from our esteemed faculty, we’ve been exposed to opinions and evidence we’d otherwise never see. Collaborating on assignments, we’ve learned from our peers, who likewise come to college with experiences different from our own.
We hope our faculty and administrators have had the same learning experience this semester.
Part of being a member of an institution of higher learning is acknowledging that everyone brings their own knowledge to campus — not just the professors. Despite the capitalist fantasy that our tuition can be directly exchanged for learned information and social capital, the reality is that learning is a deeply collaborative process and can’t happen in a vacuum.
A Black student knows something about the world that a white professor cannot. A trans professor knows something about the world that a cis student cannot. We — students, faculty, administrators, staff — would all learn something if we first learned some humility.
As journalists, we understand how difficult it can be to find objective truth. But we do know one tried-and-true tactic that we recommend to all: talking to as many different people as possible, and giving them the benefit of the doubt.
See you in September.