Feels: The Role of Student Media in All of Our Lives


By Natalie Berry

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“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.”
― James Madison

I have been a cog in the student media machine for almost 10 years now, from editing my middle school yearbook and high school newspaper to now having two major editing positions at UT’s Texas Student Media.  My involvement in such organizations has shaped my self-confidence, writing ability, leadership skills and general awareness of the world, like no other experience has.

 

It’s easy to feel like the media is against us, especially with the current political and social climate, but the media is actually one of the largest strongholds of information and democracy that we have. Media entities provide a check on the power of corporations and government organizations that is unparalleled. To maintain and improve the media sphere, we need to invest in students from a young age, providing them both the tangible skills to carry out quality work and the critical thinking skills to recognize bias, report the truth and make ethical decisions.

 

The occasional failures of the current media landscape are not a reason to give up on journalism or news as a whole. In fact, these issues should spur all of us to invest even more into creating a new generation of journalists that aims to triumph over these negative media stereotypes. Texas Student Media, and all of the entities under its umbrella, do just this, providing opportunities for students like myself to create award-winning work that truly provides for the UT community and beyond. Let’s take a look at why I feel each entity has a place on this campus and holds importance in our world:

 

The Daily Texan was created in 1900 and still brings print and online content to the community on a daily basis. In the past year, DT has particularly emphasized the separation of the news and opinion content. Opinion pieces from editors and from submissions around campus are published regularly, and I found a lot of value in these pieces especially during our most recent student body election, when key figures around campus used DT as a platform for voicing important points of concern that I wouldn’t have otherwise heard.

 

Still in its infant stages, Burnt X, a strictly online publication, provides quick news, lifestyle and opinion content to the community. Burnt X’s 2016 Election Guide was a comprehensive, nonpartisan and useful tool for many students this past year, and its social media presence has grown, providing live coverage for events like Ellen Degeneres’ visit to campus. Burnt X reaches students where they are and how they want to be reached: online, quickly and with the use of gifs.

 

The Texas Travesty plays a key role on campus as a satirical publication. At its core, satirical content acts as a source of entertainment and criticism. And let me tell you, The Travesty does its job well. They know how to check the powers of people on and off campus in an entertaining and effective way.

 

TSTV, our television station, and KVRX, our radio station, are both entirely student-run and produce shows of an impressive caliber. The shows also span topics from music and sports to general news, comedy and niche topics. These stations keep students informed and involved in a way that only multi-media can do.

 

Lastly, the Cactus Yearbook, the oldest publication at UT, keeps an intentional, historical record of all of our times at the university. The tangible, in-depth nature of the book makes it unique and essential during this fast, throwaway era. I’ve personally been able to look through past Cactus yearbooks and I’ve been amazed at the change and continuity on the university. As a university and as a society, we need to be able to clearly understand the past and present to effectively move into the future. The Cactus allows us to do this.

 

If you value student media as much as I do, consider donating here to our current campaign to raise money that will fund the programs above. The students that are being trained now are the future of the media.