The merit behind student journalism

As a student, staying informed about campus news is just as important as world news

 

And so it’s over for another year.

I speak to you as the outgoing managing editor, and the incoming editor-in-chief.

Wild, right? Who would have thought a photo editor would suddenly become the next editor-in-chief of a campus newspaper? A lot of people didn’t, yet here I am. It definitely has been a long journey, but it’s not over yet.

You go through these four years and hope to God that you learn something other than how to write an essay the night before it’s due, every single time (and they said I couldn’t do it). And you know what, I did learn a lot here. But when I say here, I mean at The Medium.

Sure, I learned a lot academically, and my mind has been opened to all these ideas and various thoughts. But that was all because I sat in a classroom paying attention to the professors. Though, at The Medium, everything that you passively learn in class became much more real. We all think that we have to wait until we enter our so-called “real world” to face the horrors that exist. But nope, it actually isn’t far away at all. In fact, it’s right here on our own campus.

And without The Medium, there’s no way I would have known that.

From the minute we step onto this campus, and even before that, we’re told that U of T is a Godsend university and the Harvard of the north. Nothing bad happens here. We just come to campus, get good grades, get a degree, and in a few months, our careers are well on their way to success, right?

No, there are just as many things wrong here as there are in the real world. And as always, whenever an institution as big as U of T exists, there are always people who will make them look as beautiful as possible. Read a few of our articles and you’d know. Though, that’s the problem—there are still a lot of people who don’t read our articles. There is this mentality that the politics and the news about what happens here doesn’t matter, because we’re all just here to get our degrees and leave, right?

Well, I will remind you that you pay quite a bit of money to attend this school, and wouldn’t you want to know what your money is going towards? You fund this school, so you have a right to know exactly what’s going on. And who else is going to tell you, other than your own campus paper?

No, this isn’t a plug to try and promote us. This is a reminder to current and future students that your campus newspaper isn’t just an office of wannabe journalists waiting to poke their nose into anything they can find. We’re not just “student journalists,” as people love to say.

We’re journalists.

For the past nine months, I’ve been working on this journalism documentary, and I’ve been interviewing journalists and professors in the field as well. And after I finished one of the interviews, one of my interviewees told me that what we do here at the campus level is no different than what the Toronto Star or the Globe and Mail do.

And they were right. To the people who currently volunteer and write for our paper, or take photos—never stop. Your role here is important. No matter the section you write for, no matter what you like to write, you are a journalist. Without the work that you do, this paper doesn’t exist. Because face it, our role as a campus newspaper is just as important to a democracy as any other newspaper.

We hold those in power accountable, we ask the questions that no one else wants to ask, and we aren’t afraid to do so. We are the voice of UTM because we give you the information that you need to hear. Do we please everyone? No. But that’s not our job.

To those who are currently editors and are either leaving or were voted back in, your work to this news agency has been integral to this UTM community. We’re small, but we’re not forgotten, and you all are the reason why I’m still here and why I’ll be here again next year, fighting for what’s right.

You may think that we’re just student journalists, or just some nosey students, but that isn’t the case at all. Pick up one of our papers and read. We are all victims to reading a headline and moving on. Don’t do that anymore. Read past the headline. Stay informed, and don’t believe everything you read at face value.

U of T isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Any power that paints itself as perfect never is. You have to question everything in this life. You need to educate yourself, and you need to keep yourself aware of the many things happening in the world. Just because you may not like or agree with something, doesn’t mean you should ignore what’s happening. Staying informed and understanding what is happening in your community, wherever that may be, is essential to your survival. Don’t blindly assume that all is well or all is bad. Just as there are terrible things happening outside of our campus, there are even worse things happening here. And guess who’s going to tell you all about it? The Medium. Your own campus newspaper.

So to those who may not be on this campus just yet and are hoping to, to those students who are here now, to our professors, and to our administration: we are journalists. We are journalists who are going to inform, keep power in check, and we will fight for the truth.

We are The Medium, and I have faith in my new team next year that we will continue to do our job adhering to the principles of journalism. Because without us, you won’t know that U of T just took down posters for the “Survivors Speak Back” campaign and used policy as way to make sure they don’t look bad.

Thank you to those who voted me in. Thank you for trusting me and believing in me. Thank you for allowing me the chance to take what you’ve taught me, and to now pass it down to future journalists. To those reading this or any section of the paper, thank you. To the outgoing editor-in-chief, Maria: without your guidance, patience, and friendship, I wouldn’t be where I am today. You’ve set the bar high for me, but it’s a challenge that I’m willing to venture on. Thank you for everything you’ve done, not only for me, but for this paper, and our outstanding team of editors.

Journalism matters, and so do we.

See you next year, UTM.

Mahmoud Sarouji
Managing Editor