Flor-Ala encourages campus body to speak up

Anna Grace Usery

The role of the press is often a misunderstood commodity. But it was important enough for our Founding Fathers to include not one but two clauses (freedom of speech and press) in the U.S. Constitution, to which I am eternally grateful.

Journalists can be shone in a negative light, and while some are worthy of that negativity, others are just doing their jobs. However you view the role of the press, The Flor-Ala’s goal this year is to keep our student body, along with faculty and staff, informed in all areas of campus life, to the best of our abilities. I’ll even raise my right hand and put my left over a Bible to swear by it.

Believe me when I say, The Flor-Ala is on the side of the students. We work hard to give you an accurate representation of all things, good and bad, pertaining to the university.

Previously, a few fact-checking errors and number crunchings did not present an accurate portrayal of the truth, causing uproar on campus we certainly did not intend to evoke.

On behalf of last year and this year’s staff, I apologize. If The Flor-Ala hurt an organization or individual with a plug of incorrect information, please forgive us.

I think the late, great poet Maya Angelou said it best: “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”

On that same note, we are aspiring professionals. Mistakes happen. And by all means, point it out if we make one.

The Flor-Ala is encouraging the campus body to take an active role this year in our learning process because, again, we are learning, just as you are. If you have an idea about an aspect of campus you would like to know more about, let us know. If something bothers you and you want it to change, let us know. If you simply hate The Flor-Ala and want the organization to cease to exist, let us know.

As I stated, the role of the press is often misunderstood by those who are not students of communication. So, let me outline the basics.

We as journalists follow a list of news values, or the “why we choose to write about the stories we do.” We choose to write the stories that have the power to impact students, are recent, involve people in the public eye, occur close to home, infer conflict, and/or possess a bizarre effect.

If you are an individual who is mad about a published article, think back to what the article entailed. Honestly, it probably falls under one of those specific news values. In lieu of the recent Ferguson, Missouri tragedy, President Obama went on the record to say, “Here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they see on the ground.”

We as The Flor-Ala are devoting time to craft campus into a better environment for students by outlining problems, challenging decisions and questioning choices, but we also give praise to those who are deserving. We have your best interest in mind, so please be conscious of the fact we are practicing the tactics we were taught to perform our duties as public communicators.

Often times we need help staying informed, too. That’s where you come in. Play an active part in the role of the press and let’s help keep the university informed.