Editorial | Student journalism still matters at UI

Student+journalism+still+plays+a+vital+role+within+the+University+when+it+comes+to+informing+students+and+giving+students+the+opportunity+to+get+hands+on+experience+with+journalism.+

Cameron Krasucki

Student journalism still plays a vital role within the University when it comes to informing students and giving students the opportunity to get hands on experience with journalism.

Following the recent celebration of The Daily Illini’s 150th anniversary, we are once again reminded of how important student journalism has been and will continue to be to the University of Illinois.

The Daily Illini is deeply rooted in University history and has been publishing since 1871, four years after the University’s founding. Since then, we have been the hub for University news, culture and commentary.

College newspapers nationwide have had to adjust accordingly to the rapidly accelerating transition into the digital age, and we are not an exception to this rule. With the prioritization of a successful transition to an online platform, the DI does not operate the same as it did 150 years ago — but our purpose has not changed. 

With the advent of social media, anyone can access the latest news on their phone, which may make college journalism seem inconsequential. But campus information is often sparsely found on social media platforms, and the big picture is rarely visible from what can be found. Reading University Massmails or Illini-Alerts often doesn’t fill in the blanks either. 

A publication written from a student perspective highlights issues that concern students, such as student safety on campus — one is reminded of the Red Lion incident that occurred recently — and topics that appeal to the college demographic in general.

As an independent, nonprofit and student-run college newspaper, we also have the power to hold the University accountable for actions that may be swept under the rug on social media platforms through the circulation of information.

On an overwhelmingly large campus such as the University, it is not uncommon to feel like a small fish in a big pond. The DI provides a space where college students can voice their opinions on issues that are important to them — campus-related or not — and form their own views on the world around them. 

Additionally, for students that aspire to venture into the world of media, the DI offers hands-on experience in newspaper publishing that a class simply cannot teach, ranging from writing, editing, visual design, photography and many other skills that are paramount for success. Many well-distinguished DI alumni attribute their success in the media industry to their time working here.

For students that don’t see themselves going into media, the DI equips students with professional skills and experience working in a fast-paced environment.

As we look forward to the next 150 years of the DI, it is vital to keep in mind student journalism’s central role in University history and culture.

 

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