Some students at UNO may not realize that a $1 of their tuition fees goes to covering the Driftwood costs – the cost of printing a paper that illuminates issues on campus, that spotlights students and alumni that might be off the radar of university PR, that calls attention to problems on campus such as flooding or raccoons besieging the Liberal Arts building.
In case you haven’t noticed, print media all over the United States, especially in newspapers, is struggling. But digital media, which is in a constant state of flux and restructuring, seems to steadily climb and ebb and flow financially.
That said, we at the Driftwood believe in the power of student run news. When you read Driftwood, you have the opportunity to read about underground campus news too. Just last week we profiled up and coming filmmaker KC Miles, a UNO film student. Last semester we praised the work of undergraduate cinematographer Paige Touzet, generated dialogue about LGBTQ rights on campus, and participated in many conversations about art in the 21st Century. You may have noticed Driftwood has been diligent in reporting on video games and gaming in general – because we know that these things matter to many of our fellow students. As we write, we are seeking answers from the university on behalf of the victims who had their vehicles vandalized on campus in the past few weeks.
So do I believe college journalism is important? Yes. Especially since we are talking about news that matters to us. Do I believe the Driftwood’s work is important? Yes. A student who graduates who is able to put clean, edited articles on a LinkedIn profile is better suited for potential employment than one who has not. This shows the student knows how to meet deadlines, can communicate effectively and can contribute to larger conversations. A student has something for their portfolio and something to showcase on social media channels that is evergreen. In our industry, that means permanent. A student who has been profiled by Driftwood has something to show prospective employers about what others think of their work.
Don’t believe me? Most recently, the Arizona State University student paper, the State Press, broke the news of Trump’s Ukraine scandal. Obviously, this is one of the most talked about stories in our nation’s modern history. Before there was the Varsity Blues scandal, The George Washington University Hatchet exposed corruption in the school’s admission policies; admissions officials were denying students admission who were found to not be able to pay the private school’s hefty price tag. When the University of Pennsylvania’s Daily Pennsylvanian printed photos of two students engaging in sexual intercourse against a window in a campus high rise, a national conversation about privacy and photos was generated – one that continues to circulate today.
The Driftwood is a relatively young publication – we’re learning the ropes and we’re grateful to those of you who are taking the journey with us. We hope that you will continue to read about your classmates and our university, for better or for worse.
Is the only way we want the university to face the public through stylized PR pics generated by marketing? Or do we want the stories of our classmates, our experiences, echoing to the world how we want to be represented. It isn’t always pretty or perfect, but it is who we are.
Some of you on campus may have heard we are disappearing and this is not so. We have plans to make Driftwood bigger and better.
If you want to join us in our conversation, our ears are always open. Feel free to submit your story ideas to [email protected]. Tell us about yourself, what you’d like to read in the paper. Send us letters to the editor. Because this paper is just as much your voice as it is ours.
Photo by Thomas Charters on Unsplash