Student news is an institutional watchdog - The Echo News
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Student news is an institutional watchdog

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Editorial Board | Echo

Watchdog journalism was a featured session at the HSPA Newsroom Seminar. (Photograph by Katherine Yeager)

Watchdog journalism was a featured session at the HSPA Newsroom Seminar. (Photograph by Katherine Yeager)

Last Saturday morning, eight Echo staffers caravanned to the Indianapolis Marriott North for the Hoosier State Press Association Newsroom Seminar and Awards Luncheon, and they didn’t come away empty-handed — competing with the likes of Indiana University and Purdue University, The Echo walked away with two of 15 total student newspaper awards.

I know, we’re impressive.

However, the seminar wasn’t at all about basking in the glory of student-run newspapers. The Echo staffers were also able to attend sessions during which Indiana press experts educated us on all things journalism, from the photographic side to asking the right interview questions.

You, reader: do you happen to remember August 2016, when The Indianapolis Star broke the national story about how USA Gymnastics covered up coaches who had sexually assaulted their athletes? Two of the three investigative journalists who dug up the information on those coaches taught a session on watchdog journalism — again, learning from the real experts here.

Of course, it was incredible. The two of them answered questions on communicating with sexual assault victims, the importance of following tips and fact checking as well as what it’s like to be covering something of such an important caliber. What they revealed about journalism was beyond the details they shared, however interesting those were.

News media has always sat in opposition to authorities in the sense of a “watchdog,” a form of accountability. Recently, that role has seemed jeopardized at allegations of “fake news” and the discrediting of news bias. As journalists, we strive to do our job with integrity, and also to be aware and questioning the powers-that-be, which is an important role nowadays (as always).

“Personally, I’m of the opinion that, for a paper to best perform its function, it really needs to stand alone,” said Marty Baron in the wonderful investigative journalism film, “Spotlight.”

So you see, journalism, and particularly student journalism, can be an important piece of any institution. One of the most important roles it plays is as a watchdog, which is why, in spite of “fake news” and clear biases, news media is still very essential to a democratic society.

The Echo provides many opportunities for students of all majors to be involved in the journalistic process. Students with a high level of passion for journalism and Taylor University would be a good fit for any of the section editor positions. Students with similar passion, but limited availability, would be a good fit to be a staff writer for any section(s). Staff writers are assigned no more than one story per week, and report to their section editor(s). For students desiring to write, but unable to write regularly, the role of a contributor may be the best fit. Contributors, though unpaid, can submit stories with whatever frequency they choose. For students interested in the content editing process, the position of a copy editor may be the best fit. Copy editors are responsible for reviewing and editing all content being published. Copy editors must have a keen eye for grammar and spelling, and must know AP style.

For students wanting to be involved, but with little passion for or experience with journalism, The Echo still offers suitable positions. Designers are responsible for placing all stories, photos and other content on the pages. Photographers are assigned to shoot photos for various stories. Both positions offer a great opportunity to build one’s portfolio. For those interested in marketing and sales, The Echo’s ad team sells ads to local businesses, other universities, students, clubs and more.

The Echo is for more than just journalism majors — just ask our Co-Editors in Chief Eric Andrews, a sport management major, and Katherine Yeager, a political science, philosophy and economics double major.

To get involved with The Echo, email echo@taylor.edu for details.

The opinions expressed here represent the views of The Echo Editorial Board, and not necessarily those of Taylor University.

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