The difficulty of editorial decisions for journalists who happened to be students

Laudy Issa

We’re both students and journalists –or so we like to think— here in Outlook. We cover events and affairs that are of interest to the student body. The question is: do we take part of, or simply report on, controversial affairs?
When the tuition fees go up, do we put our anger aside and act as neutral bystanders while interviewing students or do we express said anger in editorial statements and our coverage of the entire affair? Can we report on the Big Game, as we did in this week’s sports section, if we belong to the faculties that took part in it?
Traditional journalists might find our dual position inherently contradicting. To them, sticking to the hard and cold facts is essential. Bad journalism is one where we involve ourselves and take stances.
Modern journalists know just a little bit better: they understand the essential difference between ‘neutral’ and ‘objective’ journalism. Our position as students and journalists doesn’t put us at a disadvantage, we can still report the hard facts while still taking a stance and fighting for what we believe is good. We take a stance through what we choose to cover, how much effort we put into it, and through where and how it’s placed in the newspaper.
Being student journalists gives us one advantage: we know what interests the student body, what it suffers from, and what its achievements are because we’re a part of it. Outlook provides an insider perspective into the American University of Beirut, and that is our greatest asset.
Editorial decisions are simple to make when we know what kind of news organization we want to be: one that is entirely by the student body, and for the student body. That much is clear.
Journalism is a tool for change, and if we can do good for the student body through it, then we most certainly should.

Leave a Reply