Why Student Journalism is Important
[TW: This article discusses gun violence.]
Students have always been at the forefront of writing social change. From socialist organizations championing labor rights in the 20’s to civil rights and anti-war protests in the 60’s and 70’s students have been driving, and recording, change. Nowadays, they are still fighting for full freedom of expression. Particularly in the wake of rising gun violence. Recent iterations of the youth-centered anti-gun violence movement include #BlackLivesMatter and #NeverAgain . The larger media landscape often buries events like these without student journalism. Issuu is proud that so many young journalists choose us for their breaking stories.
When students undergo collective trauma, such as a school shooting or natural disaster, social media is often the first stop. People rush online assuring their loved ones they are safe, or mourning those who are not. Live streams, tweets, Facebook posts pour in, and participatory journalism unfolds. Slightly after is the student media response. Statements of solidarity, memorial planning, obituaries, and actions center around student media outlets. This collective response is a natural human reaction when making sense of trauma. We should encourage healthy ways of processing such events. And, experts agree that journaling and creating stories reduces risk of physical illness following trauma .
Student journalists are unafraid of multimedia activism
Some question the blending journalism and activism. However, young journalists are inherently activist because of barriers to freedom of the press at their age. Also, many students must learn how to navigate complex legal systems for expressing their voices. 90s feminism brought us the “personal is political,” and the rise of the Internet the “personal is public” [3,4]. Online offline and personal political lines blur– so young journalists are best equipped for navigating a globalized world.
Journalist programs around the world admit that they struggle keeping up with the technological landscape surrounding the discipline. Young reporters adopt new tech like Stories, live streaming, and cloud collaboration without blinking an eye. Resilient and radical, keep it up!
Journalism education increases civic engagement
Journalism education is defined as any actions involved with news gathering, producing the news and involvement with questions of freedom of expression. Participating in such activities increases civic engagement in early adulthood. Voting in elections engaging in public affair discussions, and contributing resources for civil causes are examples of civic engagement . In a time when many decry democratic apathy an increasingly politically engaged youth is one solution amongst many. For example, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in the wake of a horrifying school shooting, started the #NeverAgain movement that specifically encouraged voting .
Student journalism is a socio-economic equalizer
Unfortunately, research consistently find that individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds participate less in government. This is often attributed to lack of eduction and resources–such as registering or obtaining an ID . However, studies also find that when students from disadvantaged schools take journalism courses the civic engagement gap between the rich and the poor closes . Therefore, journalism increases the diversity of our voting pool.