Lessons Learned

René Howard-Paéz

April 17, 2013

Campus journalism at its best can be of great benefit to a school community, enabling members of the community to be fully informed on various topics.

True journalism is a great thing to yearn for, yet the way it actually plays itself out when produced can be a lot different than what people typically think.

Campus journalism can have a very positive impact on a school campus. For students to be able to report on school events, conflicts and successes are great privileges to have. Fortunately at Dominican, the student newspaper has a great deal of autonomy to produce an informative and thoughtful edition every two weeks.

At Dominican, we are relationship centered, which can make it difficult at times to pursue values of truth and objective journalism.

While looking for truth and justice in a journalistic sense, there are bound to be those who will disagree with you.

Student journalism comes with both positive aspects and drawbacks. You can be glorified for one piece and just as easily crucified for another. Regardless, it must be remembered that the student newspaper represents the University, as we are part of the institution.

The Dominican Star is accountable to the principles of journalism, and there are subcultures within Dominican that disagree with the principles we pursue.  Because of these entities, there are certain topics that we are unable to cover as fully as they should be.

When other areas and groups of the schools have their own principles, it makes the campus divided and not part of a cohesive, truth-seeking community.

One area we were unable to grant more coverage to was our most winning team, the men’s soccer team.

Over my three years of involvement in the newspaper, stories about our men’s soccer team, our best team on campus, have always lacked quotes from the head coach and staff. This has happened because it was made known that there was a dislike for the paper and a disagreement for what we did, based on some past events.

This notion reoccurred year by year, so often that it became a sort of unofficial rule for reporters to not approach certain coaches and it was not challenged.

This has occurred in other separate occasions, not just with the men’s soccer team. It is unfortunate that the excellent triumphs of the soccer team could not be shared to a larger extent.

The Chicago Tribune did something special for the best high school team in the city, Simeon, and covered it in depth for a span of 3 months.

It would have been great for the Star to get inside access of such a winning time.

From both the perspective of journalism and the overall common good of the community, it is unfortunate that a student journalist should feel unable to speak to anyone within our community.

Many times, we think individual choices don’t affect groups of people. However, in this situation, it is evident that it does.

Obviously, there is more that the student newspaper can do to enhance the experience of students and community members through journalism, and we assure the readers that this is a constant topic in the newsroom.

In order for college newspapers to be authentic, it must report the truth. To report the truth may easily jeopardize personal relationships. That is the risk that student journalists have taken; a risk that sometimes has unfortunate consequences.