1,300 people gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington D.C. this weekend, for the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) National College Media Convention. These 1,300 people were all there to improve their skills in journalism. They were there because they all know the importance of their job. Even in college, the media plays an incredibly important role.
It’s no secret that there is an increasing lack of respect among the general public for true journalism. People are putting more focus into things with entertainment value as opposed to news value. What people don’t realize, however, is that if journalists weren’t around to investigate and report on what matters and inform the public of what they deserve to know, events like Watergate would go completely unnoticed. Effectively letting anyone in a position of power get away with whatever they want.
On June 18, 1972 the Washington Post published an article reporting on a burglary that took place in the Democratic National Committee’s offices. Reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward took on investigating the story. On Oct. 10, 1972 the front page of the Washington Post read “FBI finds Nixon aides sabotaged Democrats.” The Watergate scandal was revealed. According to the Washington Post’s archives, throughout their November investigation, the White House claimed the Post’s reporting was “biased and misleading.”
Bob Woodward spoke at the ACP convention, addressing all the college journalists in attendance.
“History is never over. The truth emerges,” Woodward said.
During this convention we also got the pleasure of having Edward Snowden as a keynote speaker from Moscow via Skype. Snowden is a former technology and cybersecurity expert for the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency. In 2013, he discovered that the NSA had surveillance on billions of innocent people and relayed that information to the media. Snowden spoke about the importance of journalism and about the reporters that he used in order to relay his information. Snowden called journalists the “democracy safeguard last resort,” saying that they keep the three branches of government in check.
As time moves forward less and less funding goes towards student journalism. College newspapers are where a good majority of important journalists get their start. It is where they learn all of the skills they need to go forward and be the watchdogs of society. If our nation continues to move away from journalists because they don’t like what they are discovering there will soon be no place left in society for truth. Truth will die if journalism does. If we make college newspapers great again, America will come with it.