Public service journalism demands that we report on relevant hot topics. Sometimes this may involve the mistakes of an organization or individual being cast in the limelight, leading people to ask, “Why are you concerned with my business?”
Any fair journalist must be willing to answer this serious question before they take on an issue. An honest reporter will agree that sensationalism isn’t the point of publishing a story.
Sure, singer Ariana Grande ending her engagement to comedian Pete Davidson might get more clicks due to its sensational value, but that does not make it the best front-page story.
Journalists are then tasked with the burden of evaluating what constitutes a relevant story. This decision is often based on the impact the content of the story can have on society.
The president of the United States makes headlines every day because his actions or decisions have a major impact directly or indirectly on the lives of the American people. Settlements made by major companies with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are relevant, as the actions of these companies can impact the lives of millions.
National and international news outlets scrutinize their every move not because they are looking for a “gotcha moment,” but because not watching them closely could cause huge social damage.
For college newspapers like the Tropolitan, the same principle applies. We involve ourselves with the decisions of the administration, the Student Government Association and major student organizations because of the social impact the actions and decisions of these organizations can have on the student body of Troy.
We as students are stakeholders of the organizations at Troy. Making informed decisions on how we interact with these organizations requires that we have true and accurate information on how they function.
The information we put out may not always show an organization as perfect, which is a characteristic many are unwilling to accept.
For the past few years, governments, companies and organizations have been trying to sell the lie that they can do no wrong. This seems to have rubbed off on us, the next generation of leaders in society.
The truth is anything but that. We are imperfect, and we make mistakes.
Troy, for instance, has many great unrivaled qualities as an institution, and we are achieving a lot as a school.
But every true Trojan will admit that there are areas the school can, and does, improve in. This process may lead to hiccups along the way, but the ideal response to that is to accept and grow, not vilify the messengers in the process.
The same holds true for student organizations and individuals. We do our best to serve the university, but sometimes decisions are made in the process that may not reflect our best qualities. Our lesson should always be to do better and not sweep these issues under the rug.
We at the Tropolitan are tasked to serve as a check, and we will do so. We will bring information, good or bad, to the people who need to have it. As journalists, we will continue to report on what matters — not for sensationalism, but for the truth.