All OCCC students should be treated with respect

October 2, 2015 Commentary, Editorials Print Print
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editorialAny student who has put countless hours into a college degree should have a feeling of pride. Those who put the same amount of hours into their career should have a feeling of accomplishment and success.

However, for those of us who work for the OCCC student newspaper, those feelings are often squashed by the very people who are supposed to help us achieve our dreams.

Katie Axtell

Katie Axtell

The Pioneer is OCCC’s student newspaper, run by students and for students. It’s a real newspaper, brought to the readers by real working journalists who happen to also be students.

So yes, the newspaper also provides a learning environment for those who wish to pursue journalism, photography, videography, graphics and other media fields.

We follow the guidelines and rules set by the Society of Professional Journalists and strive to do our best at our job —just as anyone else in any profession.

We work for the community to inform those around us of the activities, student clubs and all other campus-related news.

We are building our résumés, getting experience and, along with those positive benefits, we also are seeing what it is like to be a journalist — including facing scrutiny and animosity on a fairly regular basis.

I am here to defend my colleagues — to speak out against the hostile attitudes often directed toward Pioneer student staff and News Writing students.

Perhaps such animosity comes from the common mindset of today’s society, that journalists only report what we want to report, are only out to report the bad and put the spotlight on others’ misdeeds, create controversy, or spread separation, segregation or shame upon others.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Pioneer reporters have either successfully completed News Writing or are enrolled in the class and are recommended by the professor. There we learn about truth in reporting, libel, ethics and much more.

We are scrutinized by a professor who is well-respected in the field of journalism and has 40-plus years teaching future journalists, as well as being guided by a lab director with 25 years of journalism experience. We also face weekly peer editing.

We record all interviews and conversations so we can correctly report on what is said to us.

However, many times we are accused of misquoting someone or reporting incorrect information or, more recently, told we aren’t capable of correctly reporting campus news.

In all of the years the Pioneer has existed, only one formal complaint has been directed at the Pioneer and it turned out to be incorrect. Fortunately, the writer had recorded the interview and was able to defend himself.

You see, there aren’t many things worse for a journalist than to report something incorrectly. Our future careers depend on factual reporting.

We are not here to cause damage to any group, individual or department. We are here to inform our students, faculty, staff and community. We report all of the news — both good and bad. That’s what responsible journalists do.

If the information we receive is damaging, we still owe it to our college community to report that news.

On the flip side, allowing us to gather information about all campus events also allows us to help others.

We are students too. All college departments need to uphold their mission statements and help students succeed — all of us.

There is no reason for those employed by this college to be rude, hostile, or act as though any student is beneath them. There is every reason to help us to the next level of our college experience.

Keep in mind, all students are the future ambassadors for OCCC. How you treat us today could have a direct effect on the college’s future.

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