Letter from the editor

Opinion graphic

Journalists are jerks.

It’s with all honesty I believe that statement. We call people at all times of the day, asking our incessant questions. When an unfortunate or embarrassing event occurs, it’s usually splashed all over our newspapers and websites.

But we are necessary for a free and open society.

At the K-State Collegian, we receive comments on an almost daily basis asking why we aren’t doing enough to promote the university. The answer? That’s not our job.

As a newspaper, student or otherwise, our sole purpose is to inform readers about what is happening in our community. Sometimes that means we cover a topic that can anger some readers and may not be viewed as a positive representation of the university. But that’s what we do. We cover both the good and bad aspects of events that occur here, because we cover life. And life is a combination of good and bad.

The Collegian is a distinct and separate entity from the university. We are owned by our nonprofit organization Collegian Media Group. Although we are housed on campus, we pay rent to K-State for the space we use. This independence is what gives us freedom from the university and the ability to act as journalists, rather than just as a mouthpiece for the K-State administration.

Our goal is not to create embarrassment or hype, but to report on what happens here. That’s it.

Last Saturday, we reported on the K-State Marching Band’s halftime performance. Rather than simply retell the event, we used our local connections within the community to call band members.

While countless other media organizations simply retold the event, we were the only ones who called people involved before posting the story and posted a picture of the choreography plan before anyone else.

In contrast, on Wednesday we published an article about how K-State graduates are first in statewide average salary post-graduation out of all Kansas universities. The good and the bad both happen here, and we cover it.

K-State’s Communications and Marketing Department performs a necessary and admirable role in facilitating communication between the university and the public. However, our role differs from theirs in that we don’t represent K-State, we represent the community.

It’s our job to view the school’s administration with skepticism and a critical eye. The university receives and spends public funding and tuition money and must be held accountable for its actions. Other wise, we allow the possibility of corruption to flourish.

Founding father and journalist Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “That if all Printers were determin’d not to print any thing till they were sure it would offend no body, there would be very little printed.”

What Franklin meant was that by the nature of reporting itself, not everyone may like a particular story. And though a person may not like one story, another person might. The idea was not to offend, but to start conversations and debates over contentious issues that affect everyone. To create a more informed society. It’s the very basis of our democracy.

It’s the reason why we began our new Ask Me Live Q-and-A feature. We want to connect both locally and nationally known figures with the public to start conversations and help people learn.

Famed writer and journalist Mark Twain often dissected American culture in his writing, speaking out against slavery and other absurdities of his time.

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself,” Twain wrote.

Questioning authority is the greatest of American traditions. No person, government or organization is above questioning. The very founding of this nation began this way. Being unbound to the university means we have the freedom to question and we will continue to do so, for the good of the K-State family.

Jon Parton

Senior in political science