I’m not going to lie, I really thought about making my senior column just these three words:
“Support local journalism.”
That is what I wanted to leave behind, because that’s really what you should know.
While that would’ve been a mysterious way to leave, it also would’ve been cliche. I feel I need to add a bit more after five years with this publication.
I’ve learned immensely while at Missouri State University. I am not the same person I was five years ago. Missouri State opened so many doors for me. I’ve completed three internships before graduation, served as an editor for three years at The Standard — including a year as editor-in-chief — found support from faculty and peers and spent a year in West Africa.
At The Standard, I walked in eager and full of energy. This served me well, but through my accomplishments as a student, the most important concept I’ve learned through my reporting and from professors in the media, journalism and film department, is humility.
With that being said, I don’t want to talk about myself anymore. I want to talk about what you can do to consume the news responsibly. Also, what our journalists at The Standard should do to deliver news maturely.
The beauty of America is the truth is always at our fingertips. Our First Amendment opened doors to provide truth constantly and without fear through the free press. Our free press is threatened now, but that is not your problem, reader. What you should focus on is how to find the truth through the deluge of untruth that flows through our social media feeds, including the latest untruth from President Donald Trump who weekly declares the media as, “The Enemy of the People.”
Instead of following partisan press and talking heads, follow the journalists of your local newspaper, radio station or TV news station. If you’re living in Greene County, it’s the journalists of The Standard, the Springfield News-Leader, the Springfield Business Journal and writers at 417 Magazine that work tirelessly to provide you truth. Listen to 91.1 KSMU, your local National Public Radio affiliate. Watch KY3 and KOLR10.
Once you choose everyday to seek the truth, you will have the information you need to be “free and self-governing,” as told by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in their book, “The Elements of Journalism.” (Thanks Dr. Cline, for introducing your classes to great authors who have incredible insight to the problems our industry is fighting through.)
To staff members at The Standard, it’s your job to provide truth and to report on what you see as objectively as you can. We cannot control unconscious bias, but we can use objective methods in our newsgathering. If you’re sincere in your desire to chase the news to help your community see through the daily flood of untruths, you’ll be alright. And you must be there for one another.
Standard staff, you’ve done an incredible job this semester continuing to fill our website and social media with community stories amid a pandemic. This is hard enough to do as a reporter with any publication; you’ve all managed this while also in school remotely. You’ve shown perseverance through your reporting. Thank you.
Next week I’m heading to St. Louis to begin my summer internship with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, pending coronavirus chills out a little bit. I remember in the summer of 2016 a St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer came to campus to photograph MSU’s orientation process while the University of Missouri’s enrollment numbers struggled. I was working as a Student Orientation, Advisement and Registration leader that summer and I was so enamored watching that journalist work. Never did I imagine, even four years ago, I’d have the privilege to explore journalism in St. Louis.
To every editor I’ve worked with at The Standard, thank you for your patience to allow me to grow and learn. To Jack, thank you for advising us as journalists and as students. To Missouri State, thank you for the open doors.