First-year on importance of college newspaper, journalism

By Sojin Shin || Contributing Writer

At a glance, student journalism may seem like an obsolete concept. After all, social media has made access to information very easy. Almost all information about school events or guest lectures are emailed to us. Clubs promote their events on their Instagram and Facebook. If we want to learn more about certain policies, we can look at a web page. Seriously, who needs to read paragraphs nowadays?

        However, it is my opinion that Student Journalism still has a place in our lives, especially in a small liberal arts college like Franklin & Marshall. Here are a couple reasons why:

        First, student journalism is one of the few ways that we can take an in-depth look at someone who we may know. This is particularly true in a school as small as Franklin & Marshall, where one can almost always put a face to a name. Unlike Facebook or other digital platforms that presents only transitory information (location, event, or an outfit) about a person, an interview or even a well written article details a person’s skills, ambitions, and histories. In other words, student journalism promotes empathy and connectedness among school members.

        Second, related to the first point, student journalism (or just any other type of writing) is an initiator for critical thinking. We live in a day where information is constantly bombarding us. Whether it be a documentary on seals or Buzzfeed list of the 10 best-selling frozen yogurt flavors, we need a moment of calm to process all the information we gather. For most of us, who are constantly stressed by the workload, it is not an easy process to start. However, reading or writing an article about something one cares about is a good way to start this process of introspection.

        Lastly, I believe that student journalism serves as a platform to react to the world around us. Every community’s response to the same events slightly differ, and Franklin & Marshall is no exception. Student-ran papers are a good place for us to express ourselves in this regard. For instance, a student interested in LGBT Pride movement may write about whether out school’s policies are adequate for people of LGBT community. As racial tensions grow in the country, a student may talk about his or her own experience on campus. As a response to the Amazon forest fire, a student can examine our own sustainability policy. Whatever the case is, it is always good to examine how major political, ecological, and social movements are intricately related to our lives.        So, after all, I do not think that student journalism is outdated—it is a great tool that encourages us to pause and examine the world around us. However, it is also a hard-to-deny fact that number of people who read a periodical or a paper–professional or student-ran—are decreasing. After all, sometimes it’s just nice to turn on Netflix. It’s something I am guilty of as well, even as I write this article. So, perhaps, the most difficult task that we face is simply to find joy in thinking. I carefully say that writing for College Reporters is not a bad place to start.

First-year Sojin Shin is a Contributing Writer. Her email is sshin@fandm.edu.

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