As the academic year winds down and we get closer to the bottom of the budgetary barrel, we at student media would like to encourage those who control the University’s purse strings to continue financially supporting student media. While we understand money is tight for all departments and programs, we think student media is too important to the future of this University and its students to suffer deeper budget cuts.
During University President Troy Paino’s State of the University speech earlier this semester, he spoke about the importance of each student’s Truman experience, including a “transformative experience.” For some students, this experience might be an internship or studying abroad. For many of us, it has been our work at student media.
As editors at the Index, we have learned the tenets of journalism, honed our leadership skills while managing staffs, polished our writing skills, become better interpersonal communicators, learned about publication aesthetics and design, and forged friendships and connections with people from all sorts of departments and backgrounds.
Student media produces more than newspapers, radio shows, television programs and magazines — it produces well-rounded, career-ready graduates with strong writing skills, strong people skills, and the ability to lead and work with a team. These skills are essential for those who wish to work in media after college, as well as those who don’t. Perhaps that’s why student media attracts students majoring in business, art, computer science, English, chemistry and every major in between. Even if you aren’t a part of student media, chances are you know somebody who is — we encourage you to ask them about their experience to better understand what student media can offer students.
We think students who participate in student media benefit immeasurably, but we also think the University community benefits. The Index serves as a source of news and entertainment for the Truman and Kirksville communities, but it is also a record of the University’s happenings and culture for future generations wanting to discover our University’s history. Our radio station, KTRM 88.7 The Edge, doesn’t just entertain its listeners — it can serve to disseminate information quickly to students and faculty in the event of a crisis. Detours Magazine offers the University a greater presence beyond the bounds of Kirksville with its long-format features stories. TMN Television entertains and informs students who live in our University’s residence halls. TMN Digital, at tmn.truman.edu, keeps our readers up-to-date about the University’s news and culture in a 21st century format that can be accessed anywhere in the world.
We have kept in contact with many of the Index’s alumni, and have seen firsthand the boost student media has given them during their search for success beyond college. Among our alumni ranks are an award-winning editor at the Wall Street Journal, a small business coordinator for Columbia, Missouri, a successful, ethical lawyer and an individual who works on Broadway theater productions in New York City. Although these people most likely would have been successful without student media, we are proud to have them among our ranks.
Considering those from student media who have found success, we think having a published body of work when applying for jobs offers our alumni a leg up when applying for that crucial first job after college. A published column, radio broadcast or magazine article proves the candidate can manage a project from its conception to finish — including planning, communicating and producing the final product.
Perhaps most important, student media gives a voice to students who want to express themselves in a positive manner. These students can write about their opinions in our opinions-editorials section, they can discuss their favorite music on air or they can do an in-depth story about a little-known treasure this community has to offer. We seek to give a voice to students who want to share their insights, experiences and opinions with the world.
We think student media fits perfectly into the liberal arts ethos Truman strives for. During a given week, we cover stories that involve historical inquiry, artistic expression, creative writing, the sciences and more. Student media is essential to the culture and learning experience Truman offers — we ask Truman’s faculty and administration keep in mind that their continued support is essential for a vibrant student media.