The kids are alright

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Dr. James Carviou

I began this semester as the incoming adviser for the Griffon News. Under the leadership of EIC Zoë Jones, I had the privilege of watching the news staff form into a solid unit with one central goal of doing journalism that represents the interests of Missouri Western students. Jones rose to the occasion to not only serve in the role of EIC but also challenging herself to restore the credibility of the publication. This was not an easy task as obstacles have come up since Jones stepped into the role but with every moment of adversity she has proven her journalism chops. 

In witnessing the passion and dedication brought forth by the Griffon News staff this semester, I can fully attest that the kids are alright and the future of journalism is bright. But wait, they aren’t kids. Several of the staffers are one semester away from stepping into the profession in a full-time position. Many of them hold one or more part-time jobs with local media companies along with their appointed positions with the Griffon News

At Missouri Western our student journalists are literally put on the front line to defend the freedoms granted by the first amendment by representing the student voice and keeping the university community accountable and ethically responsible for the students. Under the model of applied learning the Griffon News functions as a real-life newsroom giving our students the actual license to practice real journalism. This also means the Griffon News is not a public relations arm of the institution, nor is it a voice or advocate for faculty/staff at Missouri Western.

Being a student journalist is often a heavy burden to carry as they are forced to transform themselves into warriors of the profession of journalism while still enjoying their college experience. After all, they are only college students once or maybe thrice in my case, but still the undergrad experience is an important one and I am in awe of their allegiance. This group is truly inspiring and I am proud to watch them learn and grow by bringing the harshest criticism on themselves and never cutting corners on the integrity of the publication. 

I sit in the newsroom each Monday and observe the editors valiantly coming together to edit the stories for that week. They then build a newspaper from scratch within a matter of hours under their own strictest deadlines. This is not the work of juveniles. They are real journalists with high standards of the work that is attached to their name. As students they have the privilege of being able to make mistakes without the harshest penalties of the profession. However, I have witnessed them hold the bar even higher and refuse to print nothing but their best work while still learning from and reflecting on their mistakes each week. 

If only everyone in the profession would own up to their shortcomings the way these students do, we would have more news coverage that rises above the status quo. I am excited to see how the students are going to harness their experience gained at Missouri Western and use it to effectively change the world around them. I can attest that working with these students has restored my faith in the future of journalism and re-invigorated my love for this profession that captured my heart at the tender age of five. The following quote by Henry Anatole Grunwald encapsulates my sentiments on the call of journalism:

“Journalism can never be silent: That is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air.”