Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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Creating “multifaceted” students a focus for journalism school leaders

Creating+%E2%80%9Cmultifaceted%E2%80%9D+students+a+focus+for+journalism+school+leaders

Journalism is not a cheap industry. It never has been. 

Between constantly paying for employees to travel to cover stories and paying the employees to work, newsmakers have always had to deal with hefty expenses, which have only grown in recent years.

With the growth of online media, and in many cases the subsequent slow death of print editions, the cost to cover the news has only increased at a time when there is less money and fewer workers to get the job done.

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Many newspapers have struggled to keep up with the constantly evolving technological needs. Student publications, like Southern Illinois University’s The Daily Egyptian, are no exception. The Daily Egyptian has faced many budgetary issues and, as a result, struggled to provide the equipment needed for students to truly learn to cover news. 

SIU School of Journalism and Advertising director Jan Thompson said that it’s an ongoing process to provide what is needed for students.

“We’re trying to beef up our equipment and make sure that reporters will have access to this equipment,” Thompson said.

As covering news and reporting has changed, curriculums have needed to adapt along with it. According to Thompson, SIU’s changes have been centered around putting students in real situations to practice their journalism skills.

“We have changed our curriculum to be able to prepare students through experience,” Thompson said.

She said she is thrilled by what those changes mean to the future of the school.

“I think we’re in an exciting period because we’re growing and changing. I hope the students are excited, I hope the students are learning, and I hope the students are excited to come to class,” Thompson said.

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While class experience certainly has its benefits, Thompson also hopes that students branch out and do more than just assignments that are going to be graded. 

“A class project, it only takes you so far. What I hope to see is that we prepare our students well enough so that by junior or senior year, they’re knocking it out of the park,” Thompson said.

Part of this preparation can be working at or with established media makers, such as The Daily Egyptian, WSIU or Saluki AdLab, a student organization that competes in nation-wide ad campaign competitions while also helping design local campaigns. 

While it is not a requirement for students to be involved with these or similar organizations, Faculty Managing Editor of The Daily Egyptian Annie Hammock thinks it is important that students gain that kind of experience.

“It’s a training ground for the people who are going to go out into the world and shine the light in dark corners, it’s a training ground for journalists who are going to be telling the stories of their communities,” Hammock said.

Even if they don’t directly work for The Daily Egyptian, students still have opportunities to earn writing credits in a publication.

“We’re trying as a school of journalism to get more students involved in production for The Daily Egyptian as part of their classes,” Hammock said. 

This opportunity is present in several classes. Hammock teaches multiple basic journalism classes from which stories are sourced, while more content, including photos, comes from investigative reporting and beat reporting classes taught by Molly Parker and Julia Rendleman.

“That’s a really positive development. It not only gets more students in the mindset of reporting for The Daily Egyptian, but it gives them the classroom to discuss ethical issues, sourcing issues, how to make sure they’re getting the right people on the right story,” Hammock said.

Between the content produced by a staff that has grown significantly since the COVID pandemic and the boost provided by partnering with classes, The Daily Egyptian and its accompanying website are chock full of student articles. However, there is one area in which it falls behind: multimedia content. 

Student editor-in-chief Cole Daily notices it both as a problem for the content shown by The Daily Egyptian, but also one from an experience standpoint for students.

“It’s really hard to find careers… but most people who are multimedia faceted, they’re the people who get jobs. They have experience in everything,” Daily said.

According to Daily, SIU and The Daily Egyptian need assistance to provide students with this experience.

“When it comes down to it, we need help and funding when it comes to cameras and video equipment,” Daily said. “That’s when The Daily Egyptian is going to take the next level. That’s when we can truly, truly prepare our students for the workforce.”

As a journalism student, Daily sees firsthand what students are learning in classes, and therefore knows how important of an opportunity The Daily Egyptian provides and how including multimedia reporting into its coverage would benefit students.

“You’re broadening the horizon of every employee that works here. That means you go, and you don’t only get the reporting access… but you also get the video access and the photo access,” he said. “It’s about making everybody multifaceted.”

Thompson says that part of helping students to become adept at multi-platform, multimedia storytelling includes reviving River Region, the student-produced newscast that has fallen dormant, and fully merging it with The Daily Egyptian.

“We’re going to try to marry River Region and The Daily Egyptian. Everybody should know how to pick up a camera and shoot. Everybody should know how to write a story, and for the different platforms,” Thompson said.

According to Hammock, for every student to know how to pick up a camera and shoot, The Daily Egyptian is in need of equipment.

“The wish list is always going to include video cameras, tripods… the equipment to get the raw materials for the stories,” Hammock said.

She thinks that the students, who have grown up in an age where taking photos and videos for fun, are ready to learn once the equipment is available.

“The students are trainable. We just need equipment to train them on and for them to utilize,” Hammock said.

According to Daily, this training is a big part of what prepares students to enter the world.

Daily said, “Our job at The Daily Egyptian is to prepare students for whatever future career opportunities they may be a part of. And if we don’t give the tools to get there, then we’re not doing our job efficiently.”

 

Sports reporter Ryan Grieser can be reached at [email protected]. 

To stay up to date on all your southern Illinois news, be sure to follow The Daily Egyptian on Facebook and on X @dailyegyptian.

 

 



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