Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges spoke during the University of Mississippi’s 25th annual Journalism Week in April last year. His speech, “The Death of News and the Rise of the Entertainment Culture,” made some excellent points about the decline of newspapers and the general lack of discernment regarding internet blogs.
He was wrong, however, about the death of news. Responsible journalism is not dead, nor even dying, despite the preponderance of bias-laden blogs and air-headed entertainment sites. Granted, the hybridizing of journalism and digital media still faces years of growth and adjustments, but even the most beautiful of creatures go through awkward stages.
I am proud the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith recognizes that effective communication is increasingly important in this digital age of compressed factoids. Proud that the University is stepping forward to meet the challenges of the changing communications field. And proud that I have the opportunity to participate in the birth of “The Lions’ Chronicle,” a publication I hope will be an ever-evolving canvas for intellectual exploration and development as well as a vehicle for information.
I first signed up for "The Lion's Chronicle" Publication Staff for my own selfish reasons, but during my time aboard, I've come to love it for completely different selfish reasons. Not having any idea of my employment options with an English degree, I (correctly) thought that getting experience in a newspaper would increase my marketability. Since then, I selected a slightly different career path, but found myself still valuing the time I was putting in with the "Chronicle." I loved the voice it gave me. I suddenly had both the freedom and responsibility to investigate subjects that interested me and that I thought important for readers to be informed on.
I was amazed with the amount of things going on around me on campus -- from the grounds crew up to the Chancellor himself, from potential first time students up to returning alumni -- and it tickled my ego to find myself as "Press." Students and people in the community might "hear" it from me first. Readers might become aware of problems and potential solutions through me. At best, I might help someone out. I could give back to my campus and community.
I'm extremely proud to be a part of "The Lion's Chronicle." I've lived around this area, on and off, for ten years now, and I've watched both the campus and community grow and develop. I knew UA Fort Smith when it was still Westark Community College (pre-accreditation). I remember the first student paper, its demise, and temporary rebirth as an underground publication. I think a student press is invaluable, both a right and a responsibility of any university so I am thrilled to be on board for this round.
I am happy to see the renewed interest in journalism at UA Fort Smith. In our modern media culture, we are often overloaded with information and must find a way to sort the bad from the good, the fluffy chaff from the hard kernel of truth. "The Lion’s Chronicle" offers a chance for students to find the truth, express it well without the fluff, and provide solid, relevant information to other students, faculty, administrators, community, and even people around the world. I hope the "Chronicle" is the beginning of a journalistic revival that will provide greater opportunities for the current and future students of UA Fort Smith.
There is a long running statement in journalism, and in education, that “content is king.” If a story, or a lesson, is superficial and uninspiring, it often lacks relevant content. "The Lion’s Chronicle" helps students to learn good content development in a working environment. It also sharpens research skills and communication skills, and provides experience in producing within relevant deadlines. These are some of the benefits to those of us who have joined the staff.
The benefits to other students, the University, and the community at large will be measured in the months and years to come. I believe journalism needs to make a comeback at UA Fort Smith, and I feel fortunate that I can help to build the base with "The Lion’s Chronicle."
I encourage other students to join and grow with the "Chronicle" next fall and beyond.
For me, making the decision to join this newspaper staff was about opportunities - the opportunity to help build a newspaper from the ground up, the opportunity to be a part of something that would be both recreational and academic for me, and the opportunity to have something more to add to my resume and curriculum vita.
All of us, as members of the NEW “Lion's Chronicle,” are proud to present our newest edition.
Every member of the staff has been committed to the idea that the “Chronicle” will be a voice for the student body and the University. News of our campus community will be reported fairly and in a non-biased manner. Your concerns are our concerns.
The chance to work on a student newspaper means involvement, exposure, and connection. As a reporter, I get to attend events and speak to people I would never have otherwise. As a student, I can see how "The Lions’ Chronicle" will make history and build community at our University. The newspaper is an outlet for the student voice, as it both announces events and seeks opinions. Everyone can see the newspaper as a staple of freedom and permanence. It allows students to shape something influential, even outside of a conventional classroom.
"The Lions' Chronicle" is more than just a newspaper – it is a voice for the students and is also representative of the strength and growth of UA Fort Smith as a whole. Being part of the "Chronicle" staff gives me a wonderful opportunity to get hands-on experience in journalistic writing and the process of online publishing while helping to create a richer cultural environment for University students.
A student-run paper is an incredible opportunity to voice your opinions and make a change. It means a lot to me because it gets me involved in things going on around campus. Being involved on campus has helped motivate me to be a better student for the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.
I am excited to be a part of something new at UA Fort Smith, especially something as important as a free press. Getting to interview students and faculty has been exciting and I look forward to working on future editions. I hope that more students get involved and over the years, we can turn "The Lions' Chronicle" into a paper that truly represents the university and its diverse student population.
For too long the UA Fort Smith Student Body has had similar concerns, differing opinions, and new ideas with no way to voice them. Students at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith finally have a way to not only be heard by our great faculty, but to hear ourselves. Until we manifest our culture as a whole student body in general, we will not be known for anything in particular. Since I've attended school here, there has been no greater avenue to create discourse, respond to university policies, and create an academic culture than the new “Lion's Chronicle.”
One of my main goals as a writing specialist is to help my students identify their own compelling reasons to write so that they can use their literate skills to participate in our democratic society. A free press is one of the basic tenets of a democratic society, and a student newspaper is both a source of and a forum for compelling reasons to write. I am excited to be a part of such a challenging endeavor and to be working with such an outstanding group of students.