President Kaplan: Student Media is Like No Other


A reporter from The Charger Bulletin recently interviewed me for a story about faculty diversity. This gave me a chance to speak with the reporter about the University’s ongoing efforts to diversify our faculty and administration, giving me an opportunity to share this ongoing effort not only with him, but with the entire student body. Student newspapers make these opportunities – and so many others – possible.

In this digital age in which a dizzying array of communication tools is readily available, are college newspapers outdated and irrelevant, simply repeating what has already been said and shared over and over again in social media?  

My answer is a resounding “no,” and here’s why:

  1. Students need a voice.
  2. The pen is mightier than the sword. If you learn how to write and voice an opinion, you can change the world.
  3. Journalism will never die.
  4. You learn skills valuable in any field you may enter after college.
  5. Newspapers offer a means of student self-discovery, since they offer ways to connect with people you would never otherwise interact with. They also teach you to think critically and to express yourself convincingly, respectfully, and regularly.
  6. Newspapers create a sense of community and shared purpose.

Independent student newspapers can cover university news like no other media. Students are on-the-ground observers, intimately familiar with the issues, culture, and values. They are experts in ways that no one else – not even faculty members – can be. Students are able to tell stories that no one else can and report them in a voice that will resonate with their peers. In other words, it is a unique and irreplaceable perspective that directly impacts the life we share as a community. As important as other programs and organizations are on a university campus, few can provide the broad, interdisciplinary skill set that working on a weekly college or university newspaper can.

All members of a community have a duty to be informed, and part of your college experience is learning how to be an informed and engaged citizen. The Charger Bulletin is a wonderful way for all of you to keep abreast of what is happening on campus and in the community.

Learning how to engage with people of differing viewpoints and opinions is another crucial part of your college education. These discussions open your mind and expand how you see the world, proving that independent student journalism is an essential component of a well-functioning student body.