Why Journalism Matters
A newspaper can only function if it is read by the students it represents.
In addition to shaping school policies, a school paper provides general news to its students
Price St. Clair
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A couple days ago, I came across a Washington Post article detailing the efforts of journalists in Texas during the recent winter storm and power crisis. They continued to work, write and meet deadlines, even when their lights flickered out and their internet connections failed. They imparted necessary information and stories to the people living in the center of the disaster, as well as to the nation. They kept on writing so that households plunged into darkness would not be kept in the dark, metaphorically speaking. The events in Texas right now are merely the most recent example of journalists bringing truth and knowledge to the populace in times of emergency. It is through these men and women that we are able to see and hear about hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms, protests, pandemics, and political change.
I wrote this article on the Clark Murphy patio, enjoying the warmth of the sun beneath a cloudless sky, watching my fellow students walk by. Other than the mask on my face, there was no evidence of any current predicament, no destructive weather or power outages. I have access to rather speedy internet, can drink clean water from the water fountain without treating it first, and enjoy heat and air-conditioning. Compared to other places in the world, Furman is relatively at peace. When one stops and thinks about it, we are truly lucky to be here. Yet, this peace does not mean that the work that our student journalists here do lacks importance. Rather, they enact positive change in the Furman community, through recording our school’s history, challenging policies, and proposing ways to better the Furman experience.
I have been a student here at Furman for a little over a semester, and a writer for even less time than that, so I have relatively little experience with both our school and this newspaper. However, even in that short amount of time, I have seen how the opinions of students can shape Furman’s policies.
Take, for example, Asha Marie’s article published earlier this month. She saw a way to open up the eligibility requirements to run for student body president in order to ensure that more students had a chance to run. The motion was presented to the student body for voting, and it passed. Marie’s efforts paved the way for more diverse and inclusive student leadership, and set a precedent for Student Government Association elections to come.
In addition to shaping school policies, a school paper provides general news to its students, a service all the more necessary during this period of limited contact. It lets students know what is going on around campus, and ways that they can get involved. Students can hear about various events, clubs, and actions of their peers that are worthy of praise. But only if they read it. And students should read their school newspaper. The student journalists here at Furman pour their hearts into the articles they write. It is only right that these articles should be read. A newspaper can only function if it is read by the students it represents.
Nevertheless, through The Paladin, students can put forth their voices, whether they are relaying sports news; calling for diversity; giving opinions on student life, fashion, and the arts; or gracing the community with a curiously composed love poem. We have been giving our thoughts since the beginning of The Paladin over one hundred years ago, as Michael Peeler’s article last week can attest. Let us then keep on recording, challenging, and proposing. Let us write so we can be heard.