Editorial | Student journalism holds integral role in our society

Daily+Illini+Social+Media+Director+Jane+Knight+and+Managing+Editor+for+Online+Chieh+Hsu+collaborate+on+a+story+on+Saturday+at+the+YMCA+in+Champaign.+A+good+amount+of+us+will+continue+on+and+become+civil+servants+to+inform+the+public+and+perform+our+duty+as+the+watchdog+to+the+government+and+private+corporations%2C+Hsu+writes.

Cameron Krasucki

Daily Illini Social Media Director Jane Knight and Managing Editor for Online Chieh Hsu collaborate on a story on Saturday at the YMCA in Champaign. “A good amount of us will continue on and become civil servants to inform the public and perform our duty as the watchdog to the government and private corporations,” Hsu writes.

By Chieh Hsu, Managing Editor for Online

Just as hatchlings need the warmth of their nests before they realize their ability to fly, journalists find their gift of writing in the warmth of student journalism.

Coming from Taiwan without knowing too much of the English language, my goal during junior year of high school was simply to learn to communicate with my new friends in the U.S.

The summer after junior year, I participated in a boot camp that trained students to write for scientific journalism. I was the black sheep that at time didn’t even follow the grammatical rules when I spoke, while the other participants excelled in the mastery of the English language.

During the seven-day boot camp, each of us worked with an advisor to produce an article on a field of biology and showcased the piece on the program website. My topic was African Spiny Mice and Tissue Regeneration, which gave me the opportunity to make some rodent friends.

Since the product of the boot camp was only one article, I put a good amount of time into writing it. The result finally came into the light of day after the sixth draft, which I shared with my friends with pride. The feeling of writing was empowering — to have the abilities to inform, to play with diction and to convince.

But there’s one more incentive to write I didn’t realize at the time — the ability to publish. The ability to frequently show the internet your work, in contrast to the endless drills on physics and math problems, hooked me on without me realizing it.

Henceforth, I continued to write for my high school’s newspaper and a news agency in Taiwan on international news and here at The Daily Illini on community news.

Article after article, I collected information about the world around me and the world inside me. I learned about the topics I was passionate about as well as about myself. Each year, student journalism allows hundreds if not thousands of other prospective journalists like me to rediscover themselves. A good amount of us will continue on and become civil servants to inform the public and perform our duty as the watchdog to the government and private corporations.

Now, with our operations at the turning point of transitioning from old school print production to modern day online journalism, we need your help more than ever. Today, during the #SaveStudentNewsrooms event, please consider donating and supporting our operations. Thank you for supporting the future of journalism.

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