Ignoring student media hurts us all

Katie Wilborn/The News

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Katie Wilborn/The News

Katie Wilborn/The News

As journalists, our job at The Murray State News is to inform students about events on campus in an effective and accurate way.

As students ourselves, we are writing for this publication to become better prepared as journalists in the professional world.

However, both of these expectations are being hindered by the lack of cooperation by some Murray State staff, and we feel it must be addressed.

When we try to contact staff for stories, we are often avoided, stood up or reduced to restricted modes of interviewing such as email instead of in person.  We sometimes wait weeks to hear back from sources, and we are not strangers to the feeling of losing out on a story because of this lapse in communication.

While it sounds like these restrictions only disadvantage reporters at The News, they affect everyone in the student body. We feel that as student-journalists, our primary objective is to make sure students are up-to-date on news that will affect their future at Murray State.

As people who pay thousands of dollars to study here, it is our right to inform and be informed. However, that cannot happen without the cooperation of staff.

There have been instances in which some staff are advised to avoid certain reporters, to not speak with the media in person and to only give answers that are approved by certain supervisors in the department. Student workers must have permission to speak to us.

  Because being involved in student media is our best practice for the world of professional journalism, we take our jobs here seriously. Barring us from public information, giving us the cold shoulder and leaving us uninformed hinders our ability to improve our skills. It also leaves us to wonder if there is more that we should be concerned about within the University. 

This lack of trust between staff and student media damages many aspects of student life. How can students be passionate or involved in campus affairs if they are not allowed to know what the affairs are in the first place?

Murray State stresses the value of strong relationships between faculty and staff with the student body. The University pushes personalism with small class sizes, get-togethers with the president and more for students to feel that they can connect with other people who work on campus.

By ignoring student media and treating it as an enemy, Murray State staff is directly in conflict with this idea of strong relationships with students. Staff must work with us to uphold the values of honesty, integrity and transparency within Murray State.

We are not mudslingers, we are not gossip columnists and we do not report rumors.

We seek the truth and provide it to those who deserve it most – the student body. To treat us as such is ultimately a disservice for the people who are trying to receive a higher education at Murray State.