Though it doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves, student journalism is real journalism. Students at high schools and colleges across the globe are covering the same issues as professional journalists at national and international levels despite not getting anywhere near the same level of praise and recognition.
Nevertheless, Feb. 26 is carved out for those student journalists. Student Press Freedom Day marks not only a celebration of student journalists in general but a celebration of their tireless work and dedication to produce stories and articles for any and all readers despite the hurdles and obstacles they have to overcome.
This year’s theme for Student Press Freedom Day is “Journalism Against the Odds.” That is something that not only stands for all of journalism but student journalism in particular.
COVID-19 continues to impact every single industry, and journalism is no exception to that. Other than the obvious lack of events for journalists to cover, COVID-19 has also impacted the financial state of student publications as well as the way the daily news cycle is run.
Like every other student and professional publication, The Post suffered financial losses due to COVID-19, but more so, it completely changed the atmosphere of the publication. All daily meetings are now done virtually — and yes, Zoom fatigue is a thing — stories can’t be edited in person, half the staff is not even located near Ohio University or Athens and, most of all, personal relationships and friendships aren’t being created like normal.
On top of all this, student press members are still students at the end of the day. There’s the stress of virtual classes, virtual journalism and the seemingly never-ending impacts of COVID-19 on every other facet of life. That’s a lot. And these student journalists deserve some recognition for it all.
Despite that massive issue, The Post has been able to produce some great content this year. Hopefully, you have all enjoyed the content that has stressed the experiential learning benefits of The Post and student journalism.
Election night resulted in a few of our staff members who came to Athens and stayed up for more than 24 hours. Covering the racial discrimination that has plagued our country has allowed us to shed a light on the activism throughout Ohio, and The Post has even had the opportunity to stand up for Southeast Ohio and Appalachia. These are just a few examples of the journalism we have produced despite the odds stacked against us.
Hopefully, on Student Press Freedom Day, you can take the time to celebrate any source of student journalism that you enjoy and would like to showcase. Student journalism is real journalism, and it’s always important to remember that.