Last week, The Post learned of some news that allowed us all to let go of a breath we were holding in since the summer: our current student media sales internship manager, Andrea Lewis, will continue to have a funded position at Ohio University.
Lewis will transition to the role of director of student media, where she will continue to be paid about $45,000 by OU. The change in roles is part of OU’s greater plan to invest in student media, something it pledged commitment to in June when news of Lewis’ position being in jeopardy broke.
I previously argued if OU is truly committed to seeing The Post and other student media thrive, it needs to support not only The Post, but become more equitable in its support for student media. The needs of all student media need to be heard, addressed and nurtured by OU.
Under the new investment plan, the need for equity will be realized. The plan involves the creation of two advisory councils. One will be a “student media advisory group” composed of OU alumni and media professionals. The second council will be a student media leadership council and hold leaders from all media organizations on campus. The second council, dean of the Scripps College of Communication Scott Titsworth said, is supposed to help foster positive collaboration between the many different outlets on campus.
This is not just good news for The Post. This is good news for everyone at OU, whether they study journalism or not.
The student media scene at OU covers a broad, rich variety of topics. For example, Thread showcases stunning visuals and stories about fashion, The New Political produces high-quality deep dives into politics and The Athens Effect focuses solely on science and environmental reporting. There’s an outlet for every Bobcat on campus in one way or another.
Some OU students work for multiple publications, and we all benefit from doing so when it’s possible. The different experiences each outlet offers allow us to learn different ways of storytelling, gain experience in various mediums and discover what sort of topics we like to cover.
We also benefit from each other’s coverage. We are pushed to think of new, unique angles for our own stories after reading other reports, and we collectively serve as a watchdog for every sector of OU and Athens when looking at the culmination of our coverage.
We unfortunately all navigate similar challenges as student journalists, too. We have to consider how we’ll pay for printing our magazines and newspapers. We have to navigate bureaucracy, and we struggle with having a lot on our plate as both students and reporters. By having Lewis at The Post, we’ve been able to ease some of those burdens. I know Lewis will help every other outlet in equally impactful ways.
Although I will have graduated by the time this plan is implemented, I’m looking forward to seeing what the future of student media at OU holds. Know that our editorial and business divide will remain the same despite this change. The Post and other student media will continue their editorial independence and will simply be afforded greater support and opportunities for collaboration under Lewis’ new role. OU’s plan to invest in student media has value, and I hope it continues to open up conversations about how all student media — not just The Post — can best have their needs met by the university.