In the last decade or so, people have claimed “journalism is dying.”
For example, our local newspaper The Post and Courier won a Pulitzer Prize last year for its series on domestic violence in South Carolina.
That’s a big deal.
But recently, self-proclaimed “publications” have been popping up online across the country. You’ve seen them. They crawl in and out of your Facebook news feed, infesting it with listicles and grammatical errors and “Open letters to…” Like little journalist leeches trying to suck the blood from an art that is fabled to be long gone. Like beady-eyed vultures, picking meat off the bones of a supposedly-dead industry.
If we keep feeding them, they are only going to keep multiplying. It is an epidemic, a traditional journalist’s worst nightmare. And a new one pops up every week. But much like a fast food chain, just because they are accessible everywhere and to everyone doesn’t mean we should all jump on the bandwagon and gorge ourselves with the cheapest, easiest option.
What is the reasoning behind these pesky publications that think they are holier than thou?
Campus news is “outdated.” “Out of touch.” “Filtered” by The Man. (Terms taken directly from the source.)
Let’s talk about that for a second.
CisternYard News publishes online content daily. We cover every aspect of this campus. News? We received exclusive media access for our writers to attend both presidential debates that took place in Charleston this January. Sports? We sit courtside at every game. Features? Backstage passes at concerts, interviews with comedians, the list goes on. Not only do we attend these things, we get invited to them – by the broader journalism community. (Read: I interviewed Donald Trump on his private plane. Because CisternYard News was invited.)
And yeah, I’m proud.
The thing is, any person could apply for the position of Editor in Chief at these “publications.” What’s more, anyone could get the job. This is why the journalism community scoffs at the idea. Imagine all of the human resources workers at national news publications rolling their eyes at how many people claim listicles as work experience on their resume. You wrote a listicle for an online blog? Cool. So did 6,000 other online contributors.
CisternYard News is an award-winning publication. Our feature magazine wins numerous awards from the South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Contest every year. We have AP Style workshops at every staff meeting. We train our writers and it pays off.
So if by “outdated” you mean covering the biggest political events that South Carolina has seen in the past decade, then we will continue to be outdated.
If by “out of touch” you mean increasing our social media presence to span over every existing medium (and getting upwards of 200 followers within the first day), then we will happily continue to be out of touch.
And if you really want to accuse CisternYard News of being “filtered by the institution,” go pick up any previous issue of The Yard. Read our article about the Koch brothers’ influence on campus, or our illuminating coverage of the college’s budget cuts this year.
If I have to encourage my more than able staff to start writing listicles about the “61 Thoughts I Had During the Mid-Season Premiere of Grey’s Anatomy” (not kidding, that’s a real story on one of the aforementioned “publications”) in order to be considered modern and up to date, then maybe I was wrong. Maybe journalism is dying.
But I refuse. This staff refuses. That is not who we are.
We are, and will continue to be, the College of Charleston’s official student voice.
This is The Soul Issue.
The soul of this staff is in this magazine. Each writer, each photographer, has breathed life into these pages. We have been busting our asses to make sure that everything is just right. For you. Our reader.
The soul of journalism, much like the soul of this staff, is wildly, unapologetically and exuberantly alive. So read on. Feast on this issue. Feed your soul with stories about life and passion and positivity. We believe in the soul of real, authentic journalism. We know you do, too.
Because the soul of real journalism will never die. Because you picked up this magazine.
*This article first appeared in the February 2016 issue of The Yard