Journalism is a learning process

Lucy Berry Executive Editor

The Flor-Ala is like my child in many ways. I care deeply for its wellbeing and future, fuss over it for unreasonable amounts of time and put my blood, sweat and tears into it to make it a better product for readers.

During the last three years that I have worked on staff, I have seen the paper undergo a major transformation. Each executive editor and staff during my tenure has succeeded as well as made mistakes somewhere along the way in producing the newspaper-which is normal because this is a learning environment for us all.

I enjoy hearing feedback from our readers on what they love and don’t love about The Flor-Ala. In order to become truly enlightened, we must be willing to look at ourselves honestly and own up to our previous blunders in order to continuously improve.

We try our hardest to produce consistently good issues of the newspaper each week. We’re students who are being trained along the way to become responsible members of the media and to do our jobs effectively. We’re also responsible for helping other students to become journalists, photographers, etc. Yeah, it’s a little daunting, but we enjoy the challenge.

It’s difficult sometimes being the punching bag of every angry and frustrated reader on or off campus, but that’s the nature of the media, and we’re all bracing ourselves for it constantly. J.R.R. Tolkien, before “The Lord of the Rings” was published, said he dreaded the publication of his book because he had exposed his heart to be shot at. I think that’s an interesting way of looking at any writer’s job.

We are always open to students who wish to submit their opinions for our Viewpoints section each week. We want to represent a wide range of thoughts and perspectives about a variety of topics in order to serve our student body most efficiently.

Opinion pieces or columns aren’t articles that are written and researched like most stories you see in The Flor-Ala or any other newspaper. They are usually biased toward a particular point of view, can be offensive and often produce a lot of conversation among readers.

The Flor-Ala editorial board, which consists of myself and Copy/Opinions Editor Alex Lindley, doesn’t necessarily agree with every opinion piece in the newspaper, but we respect each student’s right to speak freely and openly.

My staff and I are looking forward to our final semester together, where new ideas are exchanged and practiced, where quality can continue to go up and where better campus coverage can be achieved in The Flor-Ala.

As a student leader, I’m hoping for continued cohesiveness among student groups on campus this spring and more collaboration in order to meet higher goals. I’m hoping for less negativity and more productivity among the student community as well.

We try to always act as the eyes and ears of the students, but we don’t catch everything. That means if you have a story idea or topic we should look into or publish, please let us know. We love nothing more than to meet new people and learn about what they want in their student newspaper.

If you’d like to submit a column, e-mail [email protected] with a 400 to 500 word writing sample and your contact information. Don’t forget to stop by our new office on Wood Avenue in the former forensic science building behind Willingham Hall.

To contact Lucy, call 256-765-4364 or you can follow her on Twitter at @lsberry1.