Working at The Eagle at American University in Washington, D.C.–back before many of y’all were zygotes–changed my life, and all to the good. I walked in the newsroom the second day I was on campus and, other than showering and drinking elsewhere, basically didn’t leave for four years. I became a reporter there. I became an editor there. I became Editor in Chief there. And throughout those four years, I learned so much–about reporting, certainly, but much more importantly, about working hard, and well. I learned how to manage different people with different sensibilities. I learned about sacrifice and how small gestures can go a long way. And I made friendships that have lasted a lifetime. I can’t stress strongly enough how important an independent student media is to try and hold administrators accountable, to shed light on communities that are underrepresented and whose voices are unheard, and to advocate on behalf of students in an era where resources are scarce and the cost of higher education increases, seemingly exponentially, every year. #SaveStudentNewsrooms
Name: Carolyn Roque
Where I am now: FSView & Florida Flambeau/Staff Writer (Tallahassee, Florida)
My interest in journalism began in high school after I took a journalism class and then went on to join the yearbook staff for the next 3 years. Yearbook was a huge part of my life and I learned things that helped me in college at every level. The work and friendships I made shaped who I am, and those memories are still clear as day in my head (like watching Shattered Glass to learn about ethics, and learning to write movie reviews after watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off).
When I began college, I pretty much stepped away from journalism and went on to study creative writing. As a junior in college, I’ve found my way back to journalism and it feels like home (cue dramatic music).
I am thankful to the FSView for giving me the opportunity to be a part of their wonderful team. I am proud to write for this award-winning paper that so many put so much time and effort into every week and every day.
Without student newsrooms, I don’t know how prepared I would be for this career that I hope to pursue. Without student newsrooms, I wouldn’t of met the pretty incredible people that I know today. Without student newsrooms, I would have nowhere to place the curiosity and restlessness that us journalists live with.
Journalism and truth matters so much right now. We need to keep student newsrooms alive because these students are the ones that will go on to become the journalists that uncover truths that need to be told, or tell stories of those who don’t have a voice, or even bring people to justice. I’m talking like the staff of The Washington Post, uncovering years of Roy Moore’s sexual harassment history. The New York Times covering the Russian interference in the 2016 election. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s coverage of Hollywood’s sexual predators. & So. Much. More.
Journalism matters and it all starts in student newsrooms. Pick up a paper, follow some socials, and support, support, support. #SaveStudentNewsrooms
Name: Jessica DaSilva
College publication: The Independent Florida Alligator (Gainesville, Florida)
Where I am now: National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Resource Counsel
The Alligator made me a better legal journalist and continues to make be a better lawyer.
I spent three years working at The Independent Florida Alligator, starting as a stringer and eventually becoming editor-in-chief. Although I couldn’t seem to crack into the industry in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, my writing and research abilities are what got me into law school and succeed as a legal writer.
Eventually, I made my way back into journalism as a senior legal editor for Bloomberg Law, where I wrote about the criminal justice system for a legal audience.
My experience at The Alligator is why I was able to hit the ground running at Bloomberg and successfully cover U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments, political movements affecting criminal justice, and delve deeper into the minds of policy experts to provide analysis unparalleled by other organizations covering the same issues.
This depth of knowledge and ability follow my curiosity to find answers is what led me into advocacy. I use these skills to support the criminal justice reform movement in a way that all people can understand the importance for change.
“Vol. 1, No. 1! … Our Alma Mater has never had a regular periodical, but that is no reason why she should not have one,” wrote an enterprising group of young men at a small college on the east end of Allentown. “We enter upon with the firm conviction that a publication of this description will supply a long-felt want, and that it can be of perpetual benefit to our college.”
Of course, the ‘alma mater’ in question in the above 1883 article is Muhlenberg and the publication none other than The Muhlenberg Weekly (at that point in time it was officially known as the “Muhlenberg Monthly”). There have certainly been many changes since 1883 — including a relocation to the present-day home in Allentown’s west end, 11 presidents, and the introduction of co-education — but one constant remains: The Muhlenberg Weekly.
I had clocked in to the office at around five that evening, and then proceeded to spend roughly seven hours trying to figure out how to lay out my section and determine next week’s round of articles with my co-editor. I also had to learn the names of twelve new faces who, for the most part, were all older than me and all seemed to know what they were doing. There were style guidelines and grammar guidelines and editing processes that I just could not get the hang of. Piled on top of this was the certainty running through my mind that someone was going to figure out that I didn’t belong there, that I was not the right person for the job.
The Daily Campus, the student newspaper for Southern Methodist University, recently announced it is re-affiliating with the university after the financial burden of independence has become unmanageable. In response, student editors at The Independent Florida Alligator are spearheading a movement to call attention to the challenges student newsrooms face in producing quality content with limited resources.
The Daily Free Press itself has historically struggled to keep its head above water. In the fall of 2014, with debt amounting to $70,000, the FreeP switched from printing daily to printing weekly. That November, we announced that unless we could raise money to pay back a large portion of our debt, we would be forced to stop printing entirely. Donations amounting over $70,000 from high-profile donors, including Bill O’Reilly, saved our weekly print edition.