From Anna Hyzy: ‘If we lose the newsroom, we lose the stories’

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Name: Anna Hyzy

College publication: Indiana Daily Student (Bloomington, Indiana)

Where I am now: Design Editor at The New York Times

The Indiana Daily Student was, without even a moment of hesitation, the best part of my college experience. It was in that newsroom that I found what I wanted to be and it was in that newsroom that I found friends and a community that pushed me to become that. I experimented, I made mistakes and I grew. I watched older students pass through who went on to be leaders in our field just a few short years out. The IDS gave us the tools we needed to be effective, discerning journalists.
Without student newsrooms, and even without those newsrooms being independent, we lose not just a training ground for future journalists, but an area of coverage. It has been the Indiana Daily Student that has held Indiana University responsible for Title IV violations, the Indiana Daily Student that has tirelessly covered student deaths, sexual assaults and University decisions. I was proud to be a part of that newsroom every day I walked in. If we lose the newsroom, we lose the stories and we absolutely cannot afford to do that. We also can’t afford a generation of journalists who haven’t had the opportunity to develop skills like news judgement, which I certainly think independence makes much easier to learn. The experience of working in a trial-by-fire independent student-run newsroom is what I needed to keep up with the trial-by-fire workplace that most professional newsrooms are.

From Alan Hovorka: ‘Without their independence guaranteed, our democracy will be worse off.’

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Name: Alan Hovorka

College publication: The Ball State Daily News (Muncie, Indiana)

Where I am now: Watchdog Reporter at Stevens Point Journal/USA TODAY Network-Wisconsin

Independent student newsrooms act not only as a voice for students but also as a critical proving ground for this country’s next generation of journalists. I know because I was one.

My time as a member of The Ball State Daily News set me up for the career I have now. It gave me invaluable experience in dealing with public officials who were recalcitrant in upholding their duties to provide public information. One of the times this fight manifested was when the university fired a widely popular president and refused to disclose the reason for his firing even though they gave him a hefty severance package.

Student newsrooms exist, in part, to allow young journalists to learn and make mistakes and to get good at demanding and asserting the public’s right to know. Without their independence guaranteed, our democracy will be worse off.