Curiosity might kill cats, but student journalists thrive on it

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Curiosity might kill cats, but student journalists thrive on it

Allyssa Ertz and Olivia Wieseler

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Curiosity.  What can it accomplish?  Curiosity is what drives a student press to offer its community the information it needs to make informed decisions.  A single student can make a difference throughout the entirety of a campus by asking a single question.  A curious mind leads to discoveries that may change a campus as a whole.  As student journalists, it is our job to ask these questions to get the vital answers not only to satisfy our own minds but to meet the needs of Buena Vista University collectively.  A free student press is what allows us to pursue truths.

One issue we pursued just last year was the Take A Knee movement on our campus.  The Tack’s uncensored voice provided the campus as well as the local community with solid facts on the issue so that people could react and make decisions as they saw fit. The coverage of this matter was essential to both our campus and Storm Lake due to its impact on society. Our staff fearlessly asked the tough questions to people of authority, as well as the individuals involved.  These concerns are why a free student press is imperative to break stories that demand to be addressed because of their ultimate effects on real people.

Being the voice for Buena Vista University’s campus is what we do.  When there are complications or timely events that need coverage, we are the ones that jump at the opportunity.   Even though it may be difficult at times to reach the right sources or convince people to talk about a timely issue, we try to attack any challenge as if its our prey.

Why is it so important that we are adamant and detail-oriented about the topics we cover?  As American citizens, it is necessary for students, faculty, and staff to be informed about happenings on our campus, and we are the ones to be the watchdog of the institution.  Just as reporters for The New York Times or The Washington Post are the watchdogs of the government, we are the reporters who look out for the well-being of our campus.

The First Amendment guarantees five freedoms.  These are freedom of the speech, press, religion, petition, and assembly.  In a democracy, these are what enable the press to act as it does to give the public the information it deserves to know.  Student press is no different.  As student journalists, we are empowered by the First Amendment to utilize our freedoms to learn journalistic skills that will assist us for the rest of our lives, no matter what our career choice ends up being.

These skills enable us to understand how the government works and how to utilize our resources and connections to get correct information out to the public.  To be the watchdogs of the campus, we have to learn skills such as interviewing, information gathering, structured writing, and critical thinking. These are all of optimal importance in a well-led student press organization to get each job done accurately and effectively.

The fact that Buena Vista University is a private college, yet we still enjoy the freedom of the press, is one of the main reasons we get the opportunity to tell important stories.  BVU has a long history of treating its students and community as if the First Amendment applies to them on a private campus, and because of this, student journalists are able to gain the experience they need to successfully run an outlet for all voices to be heard.

Journalism also enables students to showcase their creativity.  Events such as choir or band concerts, special presentations, or even just a story about an interesting individual compel readers.  These need to be covered just as much as the hard-hitting news stories because these topics are also a large component of what runs society.  People are interested in these subjects, as well as the opinions of people who choose to write about timely topics.

All aspects of a student news organization help to not only provide the public with information, but also to help open minds to new ideas. A reader may find him or herself contemplating an article’s topic in a way they never would have before.  It may seem like a small feat, but this could ultimately change the course of someone’s mindset or make a difference in something even bigger.

A free student press can be defined as the watchdog of a campus.  It can also have many other roles of endless possibility. Ultimately, our job is to provide the public with what they deserve to know in order to make educated decisions.  However, every single aspect of a free student press is indispensable to create a true student journalism environment. The curious mind of one student can make more of a difference than one might imagine.  Asking the curious questions as a student journalist creates irreplaceable experiences that are vital to the growth of the student and the campus, which is why free student press needs to beprotected.