Journalism students live to be part of the latest news conference or scrum. (Photo: Adam Scotti)


We’re student journalists. Let us in!

Journalism students need to be viewed less like students and more like journalists


Life is challenging as a journalism student. People don't take you seriously. I've been a student journalist for a little more than four months and I can't count how many times I've been asked, "So is this for a school project or something?"

It's a legitimate question, but the problem is the implication of the question. People assume that because we're students our work shouldn't be taken seriously.

Over the last couple of weeks, two fellow journalism students at King's College have been denied access to newsworthy events because they're not part of the media.

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Adam Scotti was told there was no more room but there were plenty of media passes left. (Photo: Adam Scotti)

They're only students.

But we're not just students. Journalism students play an increasingly important role in local media.

UNews' own Adam Scotti was denied entry to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's formal shipbuilding announcement on Jan. 12. This announcement was important to the post-secondary community throughout the province - a community that we, as journalism students, have the duty to serve.

An employee of the Prime Minister's Office denied Scotti access because he doesn't belong to a major media organization.

But Scotti brought documents indicating he was there to cover the event for UNews. On the event's media notice, there was nothing to indicate that student media would be denied entry. When Scotti asked how he could get in to the announcement, the event official replied, "Get a job at CBC."

Granted, the Harper government has been criticized heavily for its attempts to manipulate the Canadian media. But this indicates the Harper government doesn't view student journalism as a legitimate form of media.

Student journalism plays an important part in the student community as well as in local media.

It's our responsibility as student journalists to bring important news to the university community and to report it from a student perspective.

Furthermore, as mass corporate media continues to grow, student-run media outlets such as UNews are taking the place of local media that continue to disintegrate.

Most of the stories covered by King's journalism students are not being covered by any other media. Journalism students report local stories that national and local media choose to ignore, therefore keeping alternative local media alive.

I'm not saying the PMO should allow anyone claiming to be a journalist into every announcement, but if student journalists bring the proper accreditation and are covering the event for an important local audience then it is the PMO's obligation to let them in.

Another fellow journalism student's requests to receive a press pass for this weekend's "Everything to do with Sex Show" have been completely ignored. This event may not be as newsworthy as the shipbuilding announcement, but is still of particular interest to the university community.

In order to keep the student body informed, student media needs to be taken seriously. Our role is more than just as students. We're a growing local media presence.

Also, covering events like these is part of the student journalist's learning experience. If journalism students are excluded from news events the only result will be weaker journalists and ineffective news media in the future.

If journalism students are not expected to cover newsworthy events, how can we gain the experience it takes to be a "working journalist"? How are we expected to convince a potential employer that we have what it takes?

Let me put it this way.

If students at teacher's college were not expected to participate in any practicum work, would you want them teaching your child's eighth grade class?

I doubt it.

If medical students learned how to be surgeons through only textbooks and lectures, would you want them to do double-bypass surgery on your grandfather?

Of course not.

So why is it that student journalists are expected to work for major media organizations without gaining the proper experience first?

The point is journalism students need experiences like attending important government announcements to learn how to report accurately and fairly. More importantly, student journalists represent a growing part of local media and need to be taken seriously.



Posted by Delia | Jan 26, 2022 2:16 PM AT

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