When I was a freshman here, I read Slade Rand and Taylor Vance’s farewell columns in The Daily Mississippian. Even though I had only started working for the DM that spring semester, I remember thinking to myself, “What would I write in a farewell column?” Well, it looks like that time has come, three and a half years later.
Working at The Daily Mississippian has given me an even greater appreciation for what journalists do. Whenever I talk to people about what I like about working at the DM, it’s something I always mention, along with the fact the DM gives me a better understanding of how journalism works. In this farewell piece, I’ll be quickly going over some things about journalists, in an attempt to help you understand more about what we do and why we do it. It means a lot to me, and I hope by the end of this you’ll see why.
Journalists always do their best to tell the truth
I feel like this one is a no-brainer, but I still feel like it needs to be said. In the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, the first point there is “Seek truth and report it.” Our job as journalists is to report the facts to you, our audience, so you can process them and do what you will with the information. I even have a tattoo on my arm about truth: “vincit omnia veritas,” which is Latin for “truth conquers all.” Truth and honesty are very important to me, and it’s a big part of why I’m a journalist.
I will admit, sometimes we get things wrong. It’s never on purpose. Journalists — for those of you who may not believe it — are human beings who sometimes make mistakes. If we make a mistake, we issue a correction online and in the paper if that mistake was printed. Owning up to mistakes is hard, but something we are willing to do.
Journalists don’t always agree with what’s being published
Journalists, much like all of you, do have opinions! We’re just supposed to keep them out of the workplace to remain objective and unbiased. That’s what we do with our daily news coverage.
We also try to represent a variety of voices on campus in our opinion section. If you’ve ever read an opinion piece that you disagreed with in the past year, I’m willing to bet money that at least one person on the editorial staff was in the same boat as you.
Sometimes, people go on social media — mainly Facebook or Twitter — to vocalize their dislike of an article, and unfortunately, that can be done in a very rude fashion. I have been told on Twitter that I “support racism” and that “Ross Barnett would be proud of me” after a more conservative opinion piece was published, just because I gave that column the go-ahead in publishing. Even if you don’t agree with what’s being said, our job as journalists is to publish pieces that come from all perspectives when it comes to the opinion section. We wouldn’t be doing our job well if we weren’t making you aware that opinions opposing yours existed, would we?
(Student) journalists are doing their best
I just feel like this needs to be said. Everyone that works at The Daily Mississippian — editors, writers, photographers — is a student at the University of Mississippi. We’re juggling classes, job applications and summer internships applications. Anything and everything you could think of, we’re trying to do. It’s stressful, balancing working at the DM and literally everything else, but the work we do here is worth it to me.
We have worked tirelessly all year to provide you all with the latest news. We work rain or shine, tornado watch or tornado warning. Upon reading that, you may think we’re crazy. I can’t deny that we may be at least a little crazy for it, but it just goes to show how dedicated we are to journalism.
Being a journalist is hard. It’s tiring and stressful, and there always runs the risk of being cyberbullied on Twitter for one thing or another. But journalists are some of the hardest workers I know. Journalists are public servants; they work relentlessly to best report a story to their audience and help educate them on their surroundings. Unfortunately, they are not seen as public servants, but as (underpaid) writers. Journalists deserve all of our respect and support for the work that they do for their community. I know they will always have mine.
Maddy Quon is a senior journalism major from Oak Park, California, as well as Tokyo, Japan, and the outgoing editor-in-chief of The Daily Mississippian. Rabria Moore will take over as editor-in-chief for the 2022-2023 school year.