School newspapers serve as an incredible place for college students to gain practical experience in journalism and all that comes with it. Working on a relatively small scale with short deadlines and relevant stories provides us with skills that we can take with us later in life. For some student journalists, however, this small scale can grow in the span of one story.
Andrew Howard, a 20-year-old managing editor at Arizona State University (ASU)’s student newspaper, broke the news last Friday that U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker was resigning. This news was the latest in a flurry of reports coming out of the White House in the wake of the House of Representatives opening an impeachment inquiry against President Trump.
“We wanted to localize the national issue of the whistleblower complaint,” said Howard, a junior at ASU, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “In that: our reporting led us to find that he was going to be leaving his position with the State Department.”
Volker is the Executive Director of the McCain Institute, an ASU program. Howard used this local connection to bring an international story to the halls of his university. In doing so, he discovered a scoop that dominated the weekend news cycle.
The media has been and continues to be under attack by Trump’s administration. It’s gotten to be so much of a problem that the New York Times couldn’t trust the president to assist a reporter who was going to be arrested in Egypt. They instead had to turn to Ireland, who had the reporter protected within an hour, according to A.G. Sulzberger, publisher of The Times.
Despite these attacks, the news media remains instrumental in keeping democracy alive. It’s a foundational promise of this country, so much so that the First Amendment promises a free press.
Though we often think of major media outlets like ABC, CNN and Fox as being the news media, we forget about our local newspapers and television outlets. These may not be on 24/7 or provide major interviews, but as shown by Howard and the State Press, they can discover stories that rock the political landscape.
We don’t just say this because we are the Loyolan. We say this because student media is as important as all other news media. We work to take your voice—as students, faculty, alumni and friends of this University—and amplify it.
When reporters from this paper or any other come to talk to you, remember that they are there to tell your story. They are there to provide your peers with the most accurate, relevant and responsible news they can do.
Finally, we want to congratulate our friends at ASU for incredible reporting. You all have shown that college media is important, on a scale that has not been seen in a long time.