OPINION | Journalism serves, strengthens the community

I never imagined how dramatically one series of news stories would affect change at Butler University when I started reporting on Butler’s parking capacity problem back in August.

By shedding light on the parking issue and its many facets, The Collegian started a community conversation, and administrators ran with it.

It’s thrilling for me to see Butler’s top administrators work with the Indianapolis community to solicit plans and ideas for a future on-campus parking garage, which could simultaneously bring parking spots and new opportunities for student recreation.

The Collegian’s parking series is just one example of how good journalism is essential to Butler’s vibrant, thriving community.

The purpose of journalism is to explore, examine and expose issues while bringing readers news, views and entertainment.

Making the university seem pristine by re-purposing press releases is not only the opposite of a journalist’s job description but also doesn’t allow for positive change to be affected.

Good journalism isn’t supposed to please readers. It’s supposed to inform them.

As I reflect on my tenure as editor in chief of The Collegian, I am proud to say that we’ve done just that this year, and I wouldn’t trade the dozens of insults about our aggressive reporting for anything.

Butler administrators and student leaders have accused the Collegian staff of hurting the campus climate this year by being too aggressive in their reporting.

But what good is a consistently warm and sunny forecast if there’s some rain and thunder to report?

While some worry that The Collegian makes Butler look less than pristine by exposing problems and issues, I offer a counter perspective.

The Collegian’s aggressive reporting does more to promote Butler than one might think.

Because of our “aggressive” reporting standards, we’ve garnered an overwhelming amount of praise from national journalism professionals, which we share with the entire Eugene S. Pulliam School of Journalism, the College of Communication and Butler University.

This year, we won the highest honor in collegiate journalism from the Associated Collegiate Press and recently brought home 36 honors from regional and state competitions, including the title of  “Newspaper of the Year” in both contests.

The awards honor many different areas of The Collegian’s work, but what they really mean is this: We’re doing journalism that is at an exemplary professional standard.

I have the utmost confidence that next year’s staff will continue to uphold the same values and keep exploring, examining and exposing stories on Butler’s campus.

On May 24, I’ll be moving out of The Collegian’s newsroom and taking my trusty reporter’s notebook up to the Lafayette Journal & Courier where I was recently hired as a full-time reporter.

While I definitely won’t miss the sleep deprivation, I look back on my three years of working at The Collegian most fondly.

These years taught me how to be a professional journalist.

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