After finishing my term as Editor-in-Chief in the winter, in the tradition of my predecessors, I decided to write a farewell article. Ever since I got my first job on staff as a content editor for The Paladin from a MyFurman ad, I fell in love with reporting. Through various roles on the paper, I have seen first hand why journalism matters to Furman and learned the value of being invested in this community.
On a national scale, journalism is in a state of crisis. Newsrooms around the country have shut down at a rapid pace throughout the past decade. Student journalists face many of the same pressures professional journalists encounter. Sustaining a digital and print landscape and navigating contentious subjects can be challenging.
Working for The Paladin, I have come to realize how vital student journalism is for Furman. Being informed empowers us as we navigate our experiences as students and strengthens this community. Investigative reporting is a critical way in which The Paladin serves the Furman community through the role of news dissemination.
The main value in our coverage is being on the ground level. We live in campus housing, eat food at the Dining Hall, and interact within this community on a daily basis. As student journalists, we are attuned to the student body and are in the position to pursue stories that aren’t covered anywhere else.
Throughout my three years working for The Paladin, the most rewarding part of journalism has been talking to people. Each interview and conversation I had with students, faculty, staff, alumni and administrators made my understanding of Furman more and more dimensional.
Without student journalism, Furman’s systems and cultural niches would be “silos” of knowledge, only accessible to those interested or involved. Stories, such as Stephen Turner’s piece about Radio Nights, bring our attention to these aspects of campus life and University function that are hiding in plain sight.
Working for The Paladin developed my deep-seated interest in Furman. Before this position, I had a basic grasp of the University’s culture and functioning, but journalism transformed my level of awareness. Every student here can benefit from looking around and asking questions. Being invested in this campus gives us agency and ownership of our experience. The powers that be at Furman frequently make themselves available to us at SGA meetings and town hall events. Engaging with faculty, staff and administration deconstructs information barriers and strengthens the University as a whole.
Looking at past editions of The Paladin, I understand why student journalism matters in the long run. These articles are a record of campus life at Furman, and in some cases, the only existing record of certain information. Articles from decades ago, like the “Furman Vows to Fight Baptists” front page framed in the newsroom, preserve the voices of students who have long since graduated and provide a snapshot of a campus that looked and felt drastically different. This history is engrained in the framework of our institution and is worthy of being documented. Revisiting these articles makes us invested.
To me, being invested in Furman means strengthening our knowledge and actively shaping this school. Having stakes in the health of this university involves being critical from a place of understanding and willingness to improve and strengthen Furman. You don't have to check all the boxes of achievement and recognition to matter here. Every one of us shapes Furman through our unique experience. The relationships you build and the personal contributions that you make are collectively what make Furman what it is.
When I drive down Poinsett Highway, Furman emerges out of nowhere, even when I have turned right at the sign hundreds of times. Driving onto campus feels like entering a hidden world, hence how “the bubble” got its name. Even after being here for four years, I still feel like I have barely scratched the surface. Covering Furman has developed my deep appreciation for this school. In all of its struggles and its triumphs and ordinary occurrences, Furman is a living, growing institution that I will always love.