I, just like any other journalism student, know we are in the midst of a changing age. I know statistics show most of the population will get their news from Twitter as opposed to more established news outlets, and in the coming years, papers may be about as in style as MySpace. However, what I don’t understand is why we are continuously beating down the very backbone of journalism, where it all began and where I hope it will never end, print.
I began my journalism career as a general news reporter for the Marquette Tribune Fall semester, sophomore year. The full-time position at the Tribune taught me more about journalism and what a real story entails, what real deadlines mean and what real panic feels like when a source can not be reached, than any communication class ever will. Tribune stories are about more than filling space, but instead, pieces of work dependent on numerous individuals’ input, time and ability.
The Tribune is based in Marquette tradition. Founded in 1916, and remaining one of the most recognized and valued news outlets on campus, the Tribune is a beacon of this university’s past and present. I can not count how many times past Tribune reporters as well as Marquette alumni contacted me in expressing their gratitude and happiness that the paper is still being published and just as popular as it was back in their day. Marquette is a school that of course changes with the times in searching to always improve itself, but I for certain know limiting the Tribune would reverse such an ambition. Granted, just because the Tribune has been around for over 80 years does not automatically gain the right to longevity, but it does garauntee respect which eight pages seems to hardly offer.
Journalists need portfolios. Yes, most Tribune reporters work for the love of news and telling stories. But for a majority of us in an already extremely competitive and difficult job market, we are dependent on Tribune clips to use as potential interview material when seeking a job. How on earth are we supposed to find employment with the limited clips and availability an 8-page paper would provide us? Employers want to see diversity in an applicant spanning from news oriented clips to in depth feature writing, all of which, the Tribune has offered its employees in the past. However, in eight short pages, not every reporters’ voices will be heard, nor will their clips be varied enough for landing a position. “Yes, I would love to be a professional journalist, you’ll have to excuse my sparing of clips as you see I worked for a campus paper where there was not enough room to write.” Is that what you want our graduates disclosing in the tough job market?
You are insulting us. Limiting the Tribune is not just hurting reporters and editors, but an entire circle of people who help make this paper possible two times per week. Did you know that Tribune reporters on average work more than 10 hours per week and are not paid accordingly? We do it because we want to. As a staff, we are completely self-run and motivated individuals. No one lights a torch under our behinds to get the paper printed. We research, write, report and work to the wee hours of the morning all with underlying self-motivation, determination and pure love for good journalism. I view eight Tribune pages as a slap in the face to the passion and dedication for which our staff is known.
You are creating a generation of ill-read and ill-informed students. Beyond the Tribune there are other campus news outlets, but the paper offers a different view into understanding the world, Wisconsin and campus. Reading an actual newspaper forces students to subconsciously improve their vocabulary, activate powers of concentration and attention and opens up a wealth of information individuals may have never thought to find on their own. The Tribune has done all these things and I hope will continue to do so in the appropriate, long-lived 16-20 pages it deserves.
Junior, College of Communication