Opinion: Importance of campus news

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I always looked forward to writing for The Daily Universe. Though daunting, the opportunity to share stories and meet deadlines would prepare me for a future career in a field I care so much about. COMMS 321 is the “hard” class of the print journalism sequence. It’s definitely no walk in the park. Students write two stories a week and are responsible for coordinating art, setting up interviews, tracking down sources and even creating in-depth pieces.

The first day of COMMS 321 scared me a bit. It was pretty much a “Ready! Set! Go!” situation. This all seemed like a lot to take on and yet I was excited about the challenge. I always felt stuck in my head and shy in social situations, but in the role of a reporter, none of that mattered. My first real phone interview was unfamiliar territory but so empowering. I could talk to people and create something meaningful.

A campus newsroom is a unique environment; students develop their reporting, editing and collaboration skills in creating the product. The business side takes care of advertising and marketing. The newsroom demands professionalism, but also provides a safe space to learn and grow. Everyone has someone they can turn to for help or advice. I have been blessed by working with some of the most kind, hard-working people I’ve ever met.

Campus news not only facilitates growth in reporters; it also gives a voice to the community. Both issues and triumphs are covered fairly, even if controversy doesn’t make the school look great.

The Daily Universe has tackled some challenging topics throughout the years. One example is the Honor Code confusion in 2020. Campus reporters provided an outlet at a time when the community felt in the dark. One year later, students clashed over “Rainbow Day” celebrations. Reporters were there to hear from both sides.

We have also done extensive reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and everything that’s come from it including: research, vaccines, non-compliant parties, controversy over case reporting and more. Beyond that, we try to highlight different individuals and groups all over campus and in the community and want everyone to have a voice.

A campus publication is unique because it brings together a niche group of students, faculty and alumni who all share one thing in common — a tie to the university.

Anyone who writes for The Daily Universe comes away from the experience with an online portfolio of published stories people can interact with. As a reporter, there is something so special about writing a story and knowing people are going to read it and care about it.

I want to say thank you to everyone who makes this campus news experience possible: the readers, the university, the staff and everyone who has been willing to share their wisdom and stories with reporters. I hope campus journalism continues to flourish, providing a voice to the community while preparing students to succeed.

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