Personal Opinion: Why student media is important to us all
March 2, 2018
Last week, the University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors made the decision to approve the sending of the student media self-assessed fee referendum to a student vote at Nicholls State University. If the referendum passes at the end of spring elections, a $15 fee for fall and spring semesters will replace the existing $9 fee for The Nicholls Worth and KNSU. This would allow all of the student media outlets, including The Nicholls Worth, La Pirogue, KNSU, and the television station, to thrive as one.
So, what’s the big deal about all of this, and why should you or I care? For starters, I am not a mass communication major. I am not currently studying public relations, broadcast or print journalism in an academic setting. I’m an English major and a student-athlete with a very busy schedule, so how does student media affect me?
The truth is, some people on campus believe the student media referendum will only effect mass communication majors and members of the existing student media outlets at Nicholls. I beg to differ. As a student-athlete, I have had a very unique experience working and writing for The Nicholls Worth for two and a half years while also being an active member within the athletic community and my academic department. To put it simply, student media affects me every single day.
When I first started out as a sports writer, I didn’t know the rules of AP Style or even how to write a headline or a lead. I realized that I could quickly learn those things, but what gave me an edge as a writer was my love for communicating and sharing information and ideas with other groups on my campus. I discovered that student media wasn’t only a way for me to keep up with the other athletic teams at Nicholls, but to share valuable information to the entire student body through the stories I wrote. I realized my voice could be heard and that I could share the voices of others.
This time last year, I was involved with an investigative journalism story through The Nicholls Worth that allowed me to give student-athletes and coaches at Nicholls a platform to share their thoughts on the repurposing of the La Pirogue yearbook fee. While this specific project gave me some insight as to why some athletic programs valued having both a physical yearbook and online media, I have come to realize that the convergence of all student media outlets on campus could benefit the entire university community.
This is how our university works; we are unique. We are not Louisiana State University, or any other university. Stories spread like wildfire through our quaint campus, and student media is now, and can continue to be, the trustworthy source that brings various kinds of news and information into the community first. We have had a hard-bound, physical yearbook since 1948, and we will be equipped to keep that historic tradition alive for many years to come if the student body chooses to pass the referendum. This is about all of us and our ability to connect and grow within the many outlets that Nicholls provides us with. This is about an opportunity to share and to not take for granted something that has grown with the times and functioned successfully at Nicholls for decades.
If you don’t think the student media referendum applies to you or will affect you on campus, at the bare minimum, you should care about being educated in the decisions that we can and will make as a student body to determine some of the future workings of our university. Since this student-assessed fee will be determined by a student vote, whether you are for the convergence and conservation of student media on campus or not, this will be a decision that truly does affect us all. At the root, this is all about student media at Nicholls, but this is also about you. This is about your voice being heard on your university.