College Media loses valued professor and advocate

Jasmine Fleming

by Managing Editor Jasmine Fleming

While at The Big Deal Aug. 20, I pulled out my phone and scrolled through my Facebook News Feed. I instantly regretted the decision when I discovered one of my biggest inspirations in journalism, Dan Reimold, died at age 34.

Reimold was an assistant journalism professor and student media adviser at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, but I knew him as the public speaker I had the opportunity to hear twice. Both times, he made me feel what I and my coworkers at The Flor-Ala do is infinitely important.

During my year as online editor, I attended the fall College Media Association conference in Philadelphia where I heard him speak for the first time. By the time he was finished, I had two pages covered front to back with story ideas to share with our staff. Even better, I left with the renewed feeling of having an important job to do: Help our publication produce important stories that people truly care about and want to read.

I got the chance to meet him later, and I told him I attend UNA. He instantly spoke of The Flor-Ala and asked what I liked and disliked about my job.

I was impressed that he knew about our publication, but looking back, I am not surprised. Reimold ran a website called CollegeMediaMatters.com, where he constantly analyzed the state of college media to give meaningful advice and success stories to campuses all over the country. He dedicated his life to student media and helping students understand it better.

What I admired most about Reimold was the importance he placed on college media. It is often a steppingstone for reporters and media professionals, but Reimold saw it as its own important entity to expose truths and inform readers.

A College Media Association release said it best: “He covered the students who were covering their campuses, and he consistently legitimized an often-overlooked area of journalism. When collegiate media was facing budget cuts, publication thefts and other threats, he shed light on their struggles.”

The second time I heard Reimold speak was this summer at the Management Seminar for College News Editors in Athens, Georgia. I did not know he would be a presenter, and I was excited to hear him speak. Very few instructors can make you laugh and learn at the same time, but when they do, you cannot help but listen.

To lose someone I did not know personally but admired professionally has been confusing. However, like any difficult situation, the best I can do is learn from it, and I think there is a lesson we can all embrace from Reimold’s inspiration.

No matter your passion, you have the opportunity to share it with someone. Take that opportunity whenever you can to show others why you do what you do.

Although Reimold died at 34, he already did so much for college media, which is why such a large journalism community respected him.

There are times when I think about my future and how unsure it can be. But I know now it does not matter where I end up, so long as I put pen to paper every day to get there. Writing is my passion, and life is truly about embracing your passion.