Student journalists shouldn't be discredited based on experience
In a political climate where tensions are mounting by the minute, and everything is called into question, the world has a bigger need for journalism than ever before. Journalists are called upon to investigate, to find the truth and to inform the public of what they need to know. As journalists, the staff of The Courier is called to be a part of this movement.
Often, high school journalists receive criticism. We aren’t seen as credible – we haven’t had enough experience. We’re only writing for a school, not a city – our reach supposedly doesn’t matter. Our stories are assumed to be without substance; we don’t have the impact professionals do. But skeptics forget that all journalists started somewhere.
We may not be tackling the nation’s biggest stories, our topics may seem trivial to most, but our audience also isn’t worldwide. We focus on our school, because it is our area of impact. We discuss relevant topics to students – local suicide, underage drinking and college acceptances may not be national news, but they impact our peers. We may not have city-wide importance, but we are relevant in the community of our high school.
Though we don’t exist on the scale that professional newspapers do, we are representing and informing a population, much like any other would do. A city’s newspaper isn’t important to anyone outside their area, but that doesn’t mean they should be discredited. Though quality and process may differ between journalists, we all share a common goal; we are intrinsically the same.
There should be no distinction between journalists. A qualifier before the term only serves to discredit some; the connotation of “student journalist” is much more negative than that of “professional journalist.” The important part falls not in the level of experience, or the area affected by a journalist’s work, but in the fact that they are a journalist. If all journalists do the same job, and hold themselves to the same standards, then there is no need to define differences, because we all influence our audience in a similar way.
As a result of this influence, we are tasked with following all the same standards as professional journalists. Our goals are the same: to disseminate information to students, to give a voice to all people and to remain objective. As we hold ourselves to the same standard of content, we also realize that there is no purpose to our work if it’s not being heard.
We, like all journalists, want our work to be seen by as many people as possible. In the new age of technology, it has become essential to experiment with new mediums and work to expand our coverage. With our new online magazine, we strive to do just that. We want to push ourselves to improve, and to provide our peers with more opportunities to be informed, because journalism is never static. We must always be improving, or we will become irrelevant. That is why this publication is important: if we are to effectively communicate information, we must make it as accessible as possible.
We hope this new publication will inform you and expand your knowledge in an accessible manner. A society only runs well when its citizens are educated, and we aspire to assist in that process as much as possible. So read, and learn.