The Value of Student Journalism

Journalism is an important tool for informing the public about important issues. There are national publications that cover larger news, but campus news is equally as important for the Monmouth University community. The Outlook relies heavily on commentary from students and faculty at the University in order to publish well-rounded content that tells a complete story and offers diverse perspectives in doing so. Journalists have a duty to inform the public and provide them with the information necessary in order to form their own opinions, which is what we strive to do at The Outlook. However, this is only effective when the campus community chooses to utilize the information provided by the content we cover every week.

“I feel that student journalism is a very important part of the University that not many people pay attention to,” said one editor. “My friends were talking about living in the Bluffs next year and I advised them not to do that because of recent events that were covered in The Outlook. They were shocked to find out what was happening and were thankful that I told them, but they could have just read the newspaper and already known that.”

“Personally I do not feel the University values our work,” added another editor. “The circulation of The Outlook is rather poor outside Plangere. The school refuses, or at the least makes it difficult, to get an adequate budget to meet the newspaper’s needs, while spending millions on Athletics conferences.”

“I think that certain professors value our work. As a whole, I don’t think the entire student body is interested in the paper. There are probably a lot of people that don’t even know that we have a paper,” commented a third editor.

Other editors had a different perspective. “University faculty and students are largely very receptive when I reach out for quotes or interviews, and I feel that is testimony to the perceived value of student journalism here at Monmouth,” said a fourth editor. “Actually, in my four semesters of writing for The Outlook, this semester I have never received so much feedback on my writing as well as people looking to collaborate on new articles. I think it goes to show the relationships you can make while writing for a university newspaper.”

Other editors voiced concerns about their ability to produce fully-informed stories when they have difficulty obtaining quotes from students and faculty.

“I have had trouble with not hearing back from sources, but I believe that this is due to busy schedules as opposed to not replying because they don’t care,” explained the third editor.

“Finding sources can be difficult, but as a student journalist, it is important to be flexible and understanding,” added the fourth editor. “Giving ample notice and then respectfully following up with people is effective when you are crunched for sources or time.”

“I have had a lot of trouble with not being able to interview people. This has happened specifically in regard to athletes and Monmouth Athletics,” the third editor continued. “Prior to knowing the rule about not being allowed to interview athletes directly, I interviewed one and we had a wonderful conversation which resulted in a great article. Since there is a rule, I have not been allowed to interview athletes directly because of the school’s policy. I can’t even interview coaches because I have to get quotes from the media directors. I wish that this would change because I believe that so many Monmouth athletes have great stories to tell and perspectives on games that we aren’t getting because of this policy.”

The editors agree that we have an important role at Monmouth University, regardless of whether it is appreciated as much as we would like it to be. Furthermore, we enjoy what we do and appreciate the opportunities and experience that writing for The Outlook provides us.

“Student journalism provides a student perspective in an environment usually dominated by faculty and University administration. It gives us a platform to voice concerns relating to University policies or issues, while also enabling students to pursue careers with journalism or other communications fields,” concluded the second editor.