Is the school newspaper just taking notes of what happened around us? Merely a newsletter?
April this year, a high school newspaper miles away from us, broke a story about their newly hired principal exposing inconsistencies in her credentials which forced her to resign. The news was uncovered by the student journalist running the Booster Redux, the official student publication of Pittsburg High School.
As they were attempting to write a profile feature for their new principal, the hint of discrepancy alarmed the students. Corllins University, the institution where their principal attained her master’s and doctorate degrees did not bear any physical address on its website and lack any accreditation from the US Department of Education. While on her LinkedIn profile there is no listed master’s degree or Ph.D. The Dubai American Scientific School which she was the former principal had its license suspended due to immigration issues.
The supposed profile feature germinated to an expose that helped a community sway away from hiring a fraud as their school’s leader.
This perhaps debunks the general notion that student publication is merely a newsletter that updates us from the latest information from the administration or announces events from recognized student organizations. Some out there imitates this general notion role of the school paper, but what keeps campus journalism alive, as proven by the staff of the Booster Redux, is that it can ignite change in our community or – as what history has shown during the Marcos’ regime – a nation.
Also, campus publications like The LANCE, are the cradle of future journalists which can change the slope of our country’s democracy is threatened once more by clouding authoritarianism.
The feature article ‘The Guidon Editorial Board on the future of campus journalism’ published in Rogue Magazine’s Free Press Issue, reads: “It is of great importance to realize that being part of a campus newspaper is not child’s play. Writing has the power to make or break regimes.”
That’s why even in 2017, where technology has constantly flourished, campus journalism is staying. It is more than just a paper or merely a newsletter of what happened.
If Sherlock was to investigate who would have killed campus journalism, I’m sure that it would never be technology. It would be you. You, who are part of the community that the newspaper targets. Most of these stories that you read are stories of you or your colleagues. It is you who create these wonderful stories. It is the reader who keeps the discourse flowing with the stories published. It ignites criticism which is proven since in time immemorial has been an aid to each one of us.
But if we would stay apathetic, it would be almost impossible to wake you up, and this could kill The LANCE and its counterparts in other campuses. However, as journalism is an act out of passion, student journalists would not let that happen. It is, indeed, a worthy challenge.
An excerpt from the first LANCE editorial by its Editor-in-Chief, Ramon A. Aliño reads: “The success of this publication rests on the students, singly and collectively since the LANCE’s aim is not only to record events but also to poke the students out of their shell. Its continued survival depends on what you contribute to the paper, not what it can do for you.”
While campus journalism is the beacon of resistance, it is you who makes it alive. It is you who let it stand up for you. But how can it stand up, if you’re too apathetic to even voice out?
(First published at The LANCE's July issue)