Being a journalist at a small private college is difficult. Journalism should never be easy, but a student learning how to be a journalist can run into even more troubles at a school this size. Deciding what stories are appropriate to run is tricky and it’s impossible not to worry about what professors, administrators, staff members, or fellow students may think.
This apprehension can easily translate into a desire to please, but that’s not really what journalism is about. Journalism is a service to readers, first and foremost. And this is what we aspire for The Veritas News to be as well.
But there’s one distinction that needs to be made: The Veritas News is not a public relations tool for the college. Nowhere in the Student Body Constitution or the student handbook does it mention that all stories in the Veritas should be good news about life at the college. The student newspaper is a service to the student body, not an expression of the wishes of the college.
The Veritas’ mission statement is: “To provide good news judgment, objectivity, and creativity, resulting in an unbiased news source for the Eastern Nazarene College community via student journalism.”
No one that works for the Veritas is “out to get” the college. In fact, many of us want the best for this college and that’s why we take part in the newspaper and report the news, rather than rumors. We even dispel rumors as often as we can.
As the editor of this publication, my goal is to train student journalists, but I cannot do this if not everyone is on board. If a source doesn’t answer his or her emails, avoids my reporters, or doesn’t want to be voiced in the newspaper, there is a problem. We also run into problems when people request to see articles before they are printed. I cannot do my duty to better my staff if they aren’t even given the opportunity to learn themselves.
This all comes back to the idea that the Veritas is not a public relations tool for ENC. Our marketing department does a great job of getting information out to prospective students. And we understand that both Marketing and Admissions want to reflect all the positives of life at ENC to potential students.
The student newspaper needs to be able to do its job of reporting accurate news to students and we need everyone on board to make this happen.