In an ever-changing media landscape marked by massive amounts of noise and fake news, it can be hard to know how to engage with news organizations — especially for those of us who may have never been trained on what the news should do and what we should expect from it.
Though Westminster College is small in size, the confusion consumers experience when interacting with the national media is present on our campus, as well. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide to understanding The Forum, which is based on misunderstandings about news and the media that we’ve commonly faced on campus.
“The Forum can’t publish a story about _________.”
Actually, we can. For now, at least. Although we attend a private school, the college has granted us a statement of freedom — meaning we as student journalists have the editorial freedom to decide what we publish. We always work to make these decisions with accuracy, ethics and our audience in mind, and we often don’t publish content that doesn’t meet these standards.
“I’m willing to be interviewed — but can I read the story first?”
Sorry, but not even our faculty adviser reads our content before it publishes. You wouldn’t want President Donald Trump reading stories about himself before publication, would you? Policies against prior review allow The Forum to maintain its editorial independence free from outside influence and are a huge part of what keeps us operating as a news organization rather than as a public relations firm.
“The Forum misquoted me” or reported inaccurate information.
Nothing is more important to us than accurate reporting — that’s why we have a policy requiring all our student journalists to record their interviews. If you feel you were misquoted or that we reported something inaccurately, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we messed up, we will gladly fix the error online and include a correction detailing where our original reporting went wrong.
“Because The Forum wrote about _________ that means they support _________.”
Our student journalists report what people tell them. In other words, just because we publish what someone says doesn’t mean we support it. If you disagree with a statement you read in The Forum, check to see if it’s attributed. If it is, that means you’re dealing with someone else’s opinion — not The Forum’s.
“The Forum needs to allow more students to have a voice.”
We agree! That’s why we put a call for student submissions in every one of our print newspapers and host an open house every semester to engage students writers, photographers and videographers. If you have an opinion you want to share with students on campus, email us at email@example.com and we’d be happy to work with you.