Executive editor welcomes readers back



Executive editor Clinton Olsasky discusses the importance of journalism on campus colleges, urging readers to let their voices be heard.

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor | [email protected]

Welcome back to the University of Northern Iowa! It is truly a joy to be at the helm of the Northern Iowan (NI), UNI’s trusted source for campus news since 1892. I hope the new year finds you well and that you plan on keeping up to date with all things UNI throughout this upcoming school year through the NI’s bi-weekly print issues, as well as with our online platforms and mobile app!

However, let’s face it: this past summer was crazy. After what has been a tumultuous three months of outrageous headlines and shocking news stories, you may very well be hit with a case of news fatigue.

Not only that, but it’s possible you may have become wary of the news and journalists in general. After all, the ubiquity of the phrase “fake news” has unfortunately come to encapsulate this growing suspicion across the country, including right here in Iowa.

And while it is true that there will always be isolated cases of bad journalists (just as there are bad doctors, bad mechanics, or even bad students), the fact of the matter is that the large majority of those who work in the journalism industry are extremely dedicated and passionate individuals who take their role of reporting the news very seriously.

Now, this isn’t to say that you should never employ skepticism whenever you consume news. Quite the contrary. In fact, blindly accepting everything you read, hear, or see as truth is just as dangerous as unequivocally labelling everything as false.

But we must find a happy medium. The wave of mistrust and cynicism that is sweeping over our nation will only serve to deepen party divisions and make enemies out of allies.

To put it simply, our country was founded on the principles of free speech and freedom of the press. If we call into question these foundational tenets, the democracy that we so proudly tout may soon resemble that of a totalitarian regime that restricts individual thought and expression.

So yes, journalism is important. And minimizing that importance will ultimately do much more harm to our society than good.

Now, as students, you may not have a burning desire to read the news or to stay informed about your community. Life as a student is hectic, and priorities easily get pushed aside as our schedules fill up and our classes become more demanding. Take it from me. I’m a student myself.

But, I’ll still say it again: journalism is important.

In fact, the importance of journalism may be no more apparent than on a college campus. At college, individual thought and expression should not only be encouraged, but celebrated! Being informed about your community and having a say in what goes on around you is necessary to become engaged and foster dialogue among students, as well as with faculty.

Now, you may still be skeptical of the role of journalism, even if you’ve read this far. After all, why should you listen to the opinion of a journalism student extolling the far-reaching benefits of journalism in a journalistic publication?

But that’s where you, the reader, comes in.

We at the NI are not some faceless, unknown entity who magically reports the news to campus. We’re students! We’re just as passionate about UNI and this campus community as you are.

In short, the NI is a student-run newspaper that is paid by students and, ultimately, for the students. We encourage student discussion and engagement, and we want you to have as much of a say in what we report as we do.

Now, for some of you, that may mean joining our hard-working staff of photographers, writers, and editors (we’re always hiring!). But for the large majority of you, you can get involved in other ways.

Send us suggestions or requests for stories you’d like to see us cover.

Write letters to the editor, by emailing me at [email protected].

Leave comments on our social media posts.

Praise us.

Criticize us.

Disagree with us!

All that matters is that you, the student, has a voice, and that your voice is heard. It doesn’t matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on or what your background is. At the end of the day, we’re all deserving of a voice.

So, let us hear yours!

Once again, I am excited to see the NI grow and evolve over the next academic year, as we continue the NI’s rich and storied legacy of accurate, objective and reliable campus news coverage. All I hope is that you join us for the ride.