Working in the College News Business: An Editor’s Reflection

By: Stephanie Bauer, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Growing up in a family of journalists, the news has always been central to my life. As a communications and political science double major, I have spent the last four years surrounded by people who care about the world around them. Furman students tend to stay up to date on current events – The New York Times and USA Today newspapers are usually all claimed from campus dispensers by the end of the day, and news articles are widely shared through Twitter and Facebook. Why then, is it so hard to interest students with Furman news?

While Furman is notorious for lack of school spirit – as a graduating senior I cannot say I have sat through a single sporting event from start to finish  – Furman students obviously care about what happens at our school. Hardly a day goes by without hearing students complaining about one thing or another. Whether it is the dining hall food, landscaping costs, parking spaces, or Officer 21, Furman students love to complain about our school. It always starts with “I pay $50 thousand to attend this school,” as if that entitles us to determine how Furman is run. We all know it does not. In such a small school, you would think people would care about what actually goes on behind the scenes rather than just complain about the things we see visibly wrong.

Ask anyone to describe Furman and they reference the ‘Furman bubble.’ However, I think the problem is bigger than that. If you look around, we do not live in just one bubble. There are lots of smaller bubbles we belong to within the overarching Furman bubble. Athletes care about changes in the Athletic Department. Greeks care about how new Panhellenic or Interfraternity Council rules will affect their organizations. Science majors care about investments in new research opportunities and technology. We care about our own club funding, but do not care where that money actually comes from. We care about our own interests, our own people. It is this segregation, so to speak, that causes the lack of interest in general Furman news.

The job of a newspaper or any other kind of media outlet is to be both a check on the administration and an informant to the student body. Is reading about budgetary issues and renovations always interesting? Maybe not; but it is important. It affects every single one of us.

So why are students so surprised to learn we have a newspaper, a radio station, and a television studio? Why are students not trying to seek these sources out? Most of all, what can we, as the media, do to make people care?

Working for the The Paladin has been an eye opening experience. Not only did I have the opportunity to learn how Furman works behind the scenes, but I had the opportunity to learn about and see parts of the school I may not have otherwise known. Throughout the last four years, I have had the opportunity to meet many of the amazing people that organize, teach, coach, and learn at this school.

It was an honor serving the student body as The Paladin’s editor this year. I leave you in the capable hands of Courtney Such, a gifted writer with a bright future in journalism. May she continue to serve as a resource for students, faculty, and staff alike, and earn your attention with catchy headlines, bright photos, and passionate, in-depth stories.​

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