There is no substitute for hands-on learning. The students who fueled our program in 2012 would certainly agree.
The news simply did not stop. Between wildfires, a university name change, a gun massacre, swing state politics, and a controversial new tuition rate, the aspiring journalists behind our productions were tested again and again.
I felt so proud when a pair of students headed to High Park to meet with people whose homes had been burned to the ground. They returned to the newsroom in somber moods. In a confessional tone, one student said the devastation had brought her to tears. She explained that her emotion felt like a betrayal of journalistic code – uphold objectivity; be an observer, not a part of the story.
It’s true – journalists should seek the truth and report it. But being a journalist doesn’t mean the end of one’s humanity. In fact, it means the opposite. In our newsroom, we ascribe to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. Showing compassion to those who may be affected by news coverage is part of that professional call. So is telling stories that boldly reflect the “diversity and magnitude of the human experience.” The best journalists are deeply connected to the human experience – and not just their own.
By the end of the fall semester, our journalists had grown more comfortable covering breaking news. They’d also developed an impressive editorial voice – a testament to their connection to the issues that shaped the student experience in 2012.
Nominated for a Heartland Emmy in Student Achievement, the cast of The Met Report also showed tremendous professional growth in 2012. The Emmy award ceremony was a sight to behold: Our students dressed up in suits and satin, mingling with the city’s finest communications professionals. The Met Report cast sat just a table or two from their heroes – professionals who in some cases have been in the business longer than the students have been alive. The most impressive part of the night? Our students didn’t take home that Emmy, despite months of hard work. But they handled not winning with spectacular grace. They congratulated one another on how far they had come and went forth more determined than ever to secure this top honor. In November, they produced a show for the contest that is filled with stories their peers will be hard-pressed to find in any other outlet – stories about the cost of books, campus safety and MSU Denver sports.
Elsewhere in Tivoli 313, feats were not in short supply. Our Creative Team of graphic designers executed a marketing event that captured the attention of university officials and students alike. The Investigative Reporting Contest featured a striking, 5-by-8-foot structure in the middle of the campus. Hundreds of students combed through the text on the cube to find the clues to a fictional mystery. In the process, they learned a little more about what we do in the Office of Student Media.
This is a very abbreviated list of our accomplishments in 2012. We also added newspaper distribution points along the 16th Street Mall, implemented a system for distributing fliers alongside newspapers, partnered with the Center for Visual Art to exhibit work from the Metrosphere and launched a blog with heartfelt insights from our advertising team, a group of students who work tirelessly behind the scenes to support the endeavors of their peers in radio, television and print.
T.S. Eliot wrote that “next year’s words await another voice, and to make an end is to make a beginning.” Cheers to the beginning of the spring semester and the voices our students will develop in 2013.