“I was never supposed to be the Editor-in-Chief of a newspaper.”
I borrow those words from Emily Bruzzo, your past Editor-in-Chief. They opened her first column, and I feel that it’s right that I carry them on. The sentiment couldn’t be truer for me.
I joined The Carolinian only months ago, inexperienced and unsure but determined to do the best job that I could while serving you, readers. That mix of anxiety and resolution felt familiar, and as I worked over the summer I put my finger on why: it is the feeling that I got when I first started college. Most of us here at UNCG are on the cusp of a transition; whether that is beginning college, preparing to graduate or simply starting a new semester. There’s comfort in knowing that we are all in this together. Not everyone is working on a newspaper, but there is a common bond that comes of being a student, no matter what we may be doing.
I know that through this upcoming year, I will make many mistakes. Everyone will. That is not as grim as it sounds, because mistakes are the growing pains of life, and the opportunity to develop will never be as effortless as we hope. There may come a time in our lives when we feel utterly sure of ourselves, and safe from the risk of making mistakes. That the learning we have left to do can be accomplished at a steady pace. But truthfully, if any college student feels that way then I am both shocked and in awe. For many of us, we can only hope to balance risks and goals and hope that along the way we learn and improve at everything we do. That principle is fundamental to The Carolinian. We are firstly a student newspaper, the work of and product for all of us at UNCG.
Media is a huge portion of our world, and The Carolinian is part of the mix. Media affects how we interact with each other personally and professionally; it shapes how we understand and interact with the world around us. As the internet has become more accessible over the past decade, the exposure to media has grown exponentially, and with that the need to curate the information we take in has grown as well. This is seen even more in the interactions that younger generations have with media- we consume more information more rapidly than any other generation.
Student-produced media is evidence of our investment, our interest and engagement with the world. There is a common misconception that college exists as a place where we are not yet in the ‘real world’ because we are students, and not in the workforce. Not only does this neglect adult learners and students who both work and attend school, but that line of thinking dismisses the importance of students. If we are not part of the ‘real world’ then there is a fundamental gap between us and real world issues. The issues of the larger world dramatically affect us, from the national economy and government to events in Greensboro. If media is the link between us in the modern world, then there is a real importance in what media we consume. The significance of what information we consume is usually discussed in forms of media bias and narrow opinions when involving national issues, like presidential elections and large matters of social debate, but cannot be forgotten on a local level as well.
The importance of information remains relevant on the smaller scale of a college campus just as much statewide perspectives. Students at UNCG are linked directly with large-scale issues such as the Guilford County early voting plan as well as issues with a more campus-specific focus, like the opening of the new Kaplan Recreational & Wellness center. Many of those topics are already points of conversation around campus, but all are significant to the students here.
Student journalism is important to a school, not because of the physical production involved or even all the effort that goes into the paper every week, but because The Carolinian is our platform. A paper is a way to amplify our voices and demonstrate that we are active members of our community, that we as a school are involved with our community.
Readers, we are in this together. We all hope to know and understand the world we live in and the relationship between people and media echoes that. In recent years, concerns about the reliability and integrity of the media world have been on the rise. So has the desire for reliable information. In those two facts, I believe that the need for integrity and community in media is demonstrated. While good journalism may not be the most electrifying way to impart knowledge in a world that can run off shock factor and it will always be one of the most important.
I may not have ever intended to be the Editor of a newspaper, but while I am here I will do my best to serve UNCG well. Everyone is figuring out how to make the next step, and I know how lucky I am not only to have a college community behind me, but a great team behind the paper. As I learn and stumble and succeed throughout this year, there are so many people I am thankful to have with me. The fabulous section editors, a crew of sharp-eyed copy editors and student reporters who are always watching for great stories and telling them well. The web manager and layout editors who make the paper come alive. All these people have their shoulder to the wheel right along with me, and are the reason that even though I never intended to be here, I feel sure that I am ready for the coming year.
So over the course of this year as we all learn and change, we will be here for you, listening to your voices and giving you the information I can. It’s going to be a wild ride.