Student newspaper: Journalism, not PR

On April 11, 2014, The Scout published an editorial clarifying that it is not an arm of university promotional messaging. Apparently, that editorial did not ring through as clearly as we would have liked.

So, let me say this again. We are not an arm of university promotional messaging.

In 1898, this student-run newspaper was established as THE source of student journalism just one year after Bradley’s founding. Since then, nearly 3,000 issues of Bradley’s history have followed.

This issue marks the sixth of the school year, and it saddens me to report that the staff of The Scout has been disrespected as journalists.

When you tell us to consider reprioritizing what we put on the front page of a certain section, you insult our intelligence. When you go on-the-record to a student committee with all the answers to questions we asked and you avoided the week before, you insult our intelligence. When you tell members of certain organizations not to speak with us (also known as censoring), you insult our intelligence.

It may be a bit nerve-wracking to wonder what we’re going to write about each week, but that’s just media. To try and control the media is to detract from its purpose and to hinder its message.

That being said, we have received suggestions from many of you, and we took action. We purchased newsstands, redesigned our website, updated the way we advertise and hired new staff members.

What’s more? We’ve covered new content, upped our interaction with students on social media and even sent emails to student organizations and administrators asking for constructive criticism, detailing how and where to send press releases and signing off with my cell phone number and email.

We truly have made the effort to better ourselves, to be more true to our journalistic roots and to encourage a stronger following of The Scout on campus.

However, our “good journalism” has not only been disregarded, but discouraged.

So my question is this: how can we be expected to report from-the-source facts and act as well-versed journalists when the very essence of journalism – reporting the news – is being trampled upon by the people who hold those expectations?

If we have offended, if we have misreported, if we have under- or overstated, we are awaiting your comments. We intend to learn and to grow and to get better with each issue, but if we are not respected as journalists in the first place, how can we?

When I said “yes” to being Editor-in-Chief, I said “yes” to all the good and to all the bad that comes with it. I said “yes” to all the responsibilities and to a commitment of providing the best Scout this campus has ever seen. I said “yes” to raising the bar.

Unfortunately, my staff and I cannot raise that bar when it’s being knocked down by those who feel our staff do not deserve answers to questions, are not trusted to make decisions on story prioritization or must surmount the barriers of administrative censorship to speak with students of certain organizations.

Believe it or not, we’re not out to get you. We go here. We like it here. And those tough questions we ask and solid stories we write are thanks to your lessons and encouragement to do so.

So please, let us write our stories and run our paper. And if you don’t like it, tell us and we’ll work to make those needed adjustments. But we’re not a public relations agency, and we’re not your puppets.

So, yet again, I invite you to contact me with concerns, comments and questions. We will surely address each. But please, let us be journalists.

– Sam Pallini
The Scout, Editor-in-Chief

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