What’s it like to be a college reporter?

“Within our identities is a history.”

“So, what are we?”

Faculty bear some responsibility for student stress.”

These are some of the headlines and phrases used in college papers, from Vassar College, NYU, and Columbia University, respectively. At Middlebury College, there is a weekly Midd Crush column, featuring students as “weekly crushes.” At Tufts University, former fraternity members write letters to the Tufts community at large.

Read any college newspaper – The Tufts Daily, Yale Daily News, Washington Square News. Layouts are clean and often in representative school colors; articles range from athletics to campus controversies to editorial cartoons. When it comes to college journalism, the philosophies of journalism in the real world are even more applicable. College publications serve to chronicle campus life in a way that influences students, faculty, and all readers.

SAS alum Nadia Kim (class of 2015) writes for two publications at her school, The University of Pennsylvania. She is a general reporter for The Daily Pennsylvanian and a designer for the school’s art and culture magazine.

“Newspaper is something I regret not doing during my time at SAS, so I jumped at the opportunity to get involved in it when I started at Penn,” said Nadia. “The DP is a business in itself, so it’s a really big organization with multiple departments, such as the business department for internal consulting.”

Nadia notes that there is an exceptional amount of independence for college journalists.

“One thing that constantly amazes me is the amount of freedom we have at the DP – of course there are certain rules and guidelines we need to follow, but for the most part, it’s up to you to find your sources and write your story.”

One of the many polls on The Daily Northwestern's website.
One of the many polls on The Daily Northwestern’s website.

College newspapers address issues on campus, such as racism and rape, in straightforward, personal terms.  The heart of a college often lies in its paper – students express their unhappiness and distress while also discussing what makes the college work well. High school journalists, especially in Singapore, face more restrictions to freedom of speech.

Journalists on The Eye staff face both limitations and freedoms. We have the Media Lab as our spot within SAS, but the whole school is open for us. We make sure to cover news within the school, but we approach all major headlines from across the world. But high school journalism students have to be more careful with any topics that could be seen as disrupting education. Eye staff members also must adhere to the guidelines regarding what is acceptable to publish in Singapore. This is not the case with college papers in the U.S.

Pooja Sivaraman, a senior at Tufts University and a columnist for Tufts Daily, said, “What’s nice about writing a column [for The Daily] is that you get the freedom to be yourself and express what you want.”

The freedom and lack of censorship, for the most part, of college newspapers fuels readership. When it comes to college journalism, the philosophies of journalism in the real world are even more applicable. 

Pooja also said that the Tufts Daily is widely read across campus. “It has been listed as one of the best college newspapers, so it’s also just a great quality read in general. There’s also so much going on around campus and it’s a good way to educate yourself about it.”

fast factsThis isn’t an exception. A cornerstone of college journalism is found in circulation and numbers. The Daily Pennsylvanian has over 7K ‘likes’ on their Facebook page and 15K followers on Twitter; Yale Daily News – the world’s oldest college daily – has 9K likes on Facebook and 18K followers on Twitter. One reason why these numbers are so high is because the world wants a peek into the Ivy League life. Easily accessible publications provide an open door to this world.

Nadia said the dedication a journalist puts into the college newspaper is entirely their choice. “Something I’ve realized is that, like a lot of things in college, you get out of it exactly what you put in.”

Author: Meera Navlakha

Meera Navlakha has been a part of the Eye staff since sophomore year and has taken journalism all four years of high school. Currently a senior, she has been at SAS for eight years but is originally from India. Apart from journalism, she loves reading, going to brunch and re-watching episodes of her favorite shows. She can be contacted at navlakha33816@sas.edu.sg.

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