As we head toward the final weeks of school, I want to take a moment to reflect on this semester of news, ask for grace where we’ve fallen short of the standard of excellence we strive for, and thank you for your readership and participation.
Take a step back for a moment to the first issue, which appeared across campus as the class of 2019 was moving into the residence halls for the first time. As editor-in-chief and head of the Editorial Board, I promised our readers three things — that the newspaper and its staffers would strive to learn, share and serve you in our work and endeavors during this academic year.
I’d say we learned quite a bit this semester. The Blueprint Teams taught us about University administration — how it works, the formation and implication of policies, funding and budgeting. Covering the Black Lives Matter movement and our campus-wide response to the resignation of Tim Wolfe, University of Missouri system president showed the influence external events have on leaders and members of our community. The cross-country mid-race fight incident reiterated the importance of sportsmanship and courtesy among athletes.
We also did a lot of learning in the newsroom, and among those many lessons is the most important of all — we are far from perfect. This semester had its fair share of formatting issues and other hiccups, including listing a current student as an alumnus and a headline that announced the Nether premiere on the wrong day, to name a few. We put forth our best effort, but we recognize it did not always meet the expectations we strive for. Some coverage slipped through the cracks and, on behalf of the Index Editorial Board, I apologize for failing to serve you as well as we would like and as well as you deserve.
Sifting through a stack of this semester’s issues of the Index, I find myself surrounded by a lot of life — updates about the situation in Nepal, the arrival of Santana’s food truck, a visit from Gov. Jay Nixon, a witty column about airport security and the possibility of state funding increases and frozen tuition. However, I also see a lot of brokenness — the death of freshman William Batterson, a Title IX harassment case, a student standing trial for rape and the community divided about the Ameren transmission line issue.
I am struck by the variety of influences we saw in the paper this semester. Several stories were pitched by individuals outside of TMN, and we received a steady stream of guest columns showcasing valuable knowledge and differing perspectives.
Together, these articles tell the story of us — Truman State and the Kirksville community. They form part of the narrative that defines us, who we are, what we do and, at the end of the day, how each of us makes our mark and fit into the overall community here at this University and in the world.
To that end, I want to thank you, the readers, for helping make this a public forum. You reached out to us with your stories and ideas, and the result was a collaborative effort with greater potential to increase understanding, and allow more voices and stories to be heard. Just as a newspaper can fulfill its purpose to inform only if people choose to read it, that same paper can become a vehicle for public discourse only if the public chooses to engage.
And I daresay you have.
However, this accolade comes with a challenge as well — don’t let it end there. As we strive to provide this vehicle for public consciousness and discourse, I once again encourage you, the reader, to participate in what is being created here. You are a part of Truman, whether you like it or not, and this is your narrative. You can choose to be a member or stand by and let other voices define the events and movements you have witnessed, and the experiences that are a part of you and this community.
This is my invitation to you.
As you prepare to leave for winter break, let me leave you with this thought for next semester. If there is something that needs to be shared, a story that isn’t being told, consider that if you don’t do anything about it, perhaps no one ever will. Write a guest column, email any of the editors listed in our staff box on page two and share your story.
Help us create a more complete narrative. The only one who can do it is you. For those of you who have graduated or will graduate next weekend, it doesn’t end here. You might have left the Truman community, but you have the ability to impact the next community you become a part of. Become a part of the journalistic process. Put yourself in the narrative.