When I started working at the Scout about two years ago, I don’t think I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.
And as I took on a larger role at the Scout, I started to learn how difficult being a journalist can be.
Beside the extra work and stress, as editor-in-chief, I am not just a student at Bradley. When I took my job, I made a commitment to truth and integrity and I made a commitment to students to make sure they were aware of everything that is going on around them.
Sometimes this commitment means making difficult decisions. It means separating my life as a friend, roommate or member of the greek community from my job and my responsibility to being fair and honest.
And no matter what decision I end up making, I lose. I either hurt my integrity as a reporter and I endanger the reputation of the Scout, or I hurt the people who are close to me – people who want to keep mistakes private.
I hate having to put my job above my friends, but being a journalist has made me realize how important responsibility is. Watching students make the same mistakes over and over has given me the opportunity to let students know that there are consequences for every action.
And I’m glad I have gotten the opportunity to share my opinions with the campus. But I don’t get to choose everything I write about.
We are all responsible for our actions, and part of being responsible means dealing with the consequences. From a journalist’s perspective, one consequence is that a person’s mistakes or actions can be public information.
Another part of being responsible means not necessarily being able to cover up or hide your mistakes – and that’s where the media come in.
I’m sorry to anyone who feels they’ve been misrepresented or represented unfairly by the Scout, but national media is more ruthless than any college newspaper can be.
The New York Times or the Washington Post could care less about the people their stories affect.
Even though I must make decisions with the interest of the newspaper in mind, as a student, I do care. And that’s something that sets the Scout apart from any national media outlet.
Something that’s important to realize is if people don’t make mistakes, journalists will have nothing to write about. I don’t want to highlight people’s mistakes or suffering. I don’t go around looking for people to screw up. And I’m not watching everyone’s every move, waiting for anyone to make a mistake.
No journalist is out to ruin anyone else’s reputation. We don’t make the news, we just report it.
And if you don’t do things that are newsworthy, we won’t write about them.
Honestly, I wish all the stories I write could be about positive things. But they can’t because everything isn’t always positive or good.
And if I only wrote about good things, I wouldn’t be doing my job and you wouldn’t be reading the truth.
I didn’t know when I first started studying journalism that it’s a job that requires a lot of integrity and commitment.
It’s a tough job. Journalists don’t usually have many friends for obvious reasons.
But someone has to do it.
Sarah Raidbard is a senior English and Spanish major from Skokie. She is the Scout editor-in-chief.
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