Posts Tagged ‘Having a voice’

Fighting for the Fourth Estate

February 15, 2011 1 comment

Photo by Skye Butler

By Kathleen Layton, Editor-in-Chief

This past weekend the newspaper staff spent Friday and Saturday in Athens at the Georgia College Press Association Conference, which is an annual conference for college newspapers. At this conference the staff experienced the “real world” of journalism and reporting. We were exposed to everything from interviewing classes to lessons in layout and design. My staff and I left this conference on a journalism high. However, as we were weaving through the winding roads, it was all too apparent that that we were leaving the “real world” and entering the “enchanted valley.”

At this conference we witnessed articulate and coherent student arguments, filled with as much passion and zest as logic and reason. We saw students and professors volunteering a wide variety of opinions and offering helpful advice and criticism.

It is sad to say that this atmosphere did not enter into the “enchanted valley” with us. Instead we are confronted with students who are ashamed to put their name to their own words and opinions. Instead my staff is confronted with an ornery and obstinate group of peers, that would rather point fingers and mock the messenger than blaming those actually at fault. Instead, I am standing face to face with a student body that would rather believe false rumors than to wait and hear a published—and accurate—story.

The culture of fear and indigence at Young Harris College has fostered a bratty sense of entitlement that is only hindering its own growth.  At our conference this weekend, one of the biggest set-backs for our newspaper was the lack of presence and name recognition outside of YHC. Though this reflects our position as a growing academic production, it also mirrors the student body. Many of the stories had the potential to insight change and promote awareness on campus have been either tossed aside or given “no comments” in interviews.

There is a palpable sense of disinterest on campus. In place of students wanting to be informed about the latest issues facing our campus and students, the YHC community would rather believe idle gossip and look down upon the newspaper staff for attempting to report the facts in news articles.

The most disappointing aspect of this predicament is that by not lifting your voice as a student, you are only preventing yourself from being  educated, inspired and empowered as a YHC student.