Shame on Grambling: Student Journalism is Still Journalism


Like many writers, my first byline came from my university’s campus newspaper. It wasn’t my best writing but I was able to get experience in editing, interviewing, reporting and covering events. Working for The Signal helped me find my niches as a pop culture and social issues writer. Although I have my issues with the paper, it is partially responsible for the existence of this blog. For that, I am grateful and continuously encourage younger students to try out student media of they want experience. Georgia State student media allows student journalists to grow into themselves and it doesn’t run away from controversy. Sadly, there are other students that aren’t as lucky.

Earlier this week, all hell broke loose at Grambling State University in the form of a protest of mistreatment of student athletes and dilapidated school buildings. The student journos at The Gramblinite newspaper did what journalists are supposed to do and covered the story. Now, they’re being punished for it.

From allDigitocracy :

The online editor was fired and the opinions page editor is under a two-week suspension at Grambling State University’s student newspaper, The Gramblinite, following growing tensions there between students and administrators.

David Lankster Sr. said he’s been fired after tweeting statements from anonymous sources and photos of dilapidated facilities (here and here) using the newspaper’s Twitter account, and he accused the school’s Director of Public Relations and Communications, former journalist Will Sutton, of attempting to censor student journalists.

“I was behind it. I was the only one on the ground hearing from the students and players,” said Lankster, the former sports editor who has worked at the paper since 2009. “Sutton was trying to mute our voice because we were tweeting the real news, the truth about what was going on.”

To say this is troubling would be an understatement. The purpose of student media is create journalism and journalists. After graduating college, these student journalists will be thrust into one of the most competitive industries in this country. If Grambling really wants them to be ready for the industry, handling these young journalists with kids’ gloves isn’t the way to do it. Word on the street is one of the students will continue to do journalism despite the newspaper’s position on the matter and they definitely should. I will be following this story and I can’t wait to see how these two journalists handle this issue. Hopefully, their colleagues will stand up and fight too. The future of journalism depends on it.

What do you think? Leave a comment.



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