I want to talk to you, readers. The Daily Mississippian and college media in general are extremely important. As I say this, I sincerely do not want to sound arrogant or boastful in any way whatsoever. And as cliche or corny as this may sound, we publish this paper every day for you.
As you and the rest of the country know, The DM published an article on the Oct. 1 incident at the Ole Miss theater department’s production of “The Laramie Project” Oct. 3. I received the tip about the story, interviewed around 20 people who attended the play and published it on Oct. 3.
On Oct. 2, the university was informed of the incident. The administration immediately tasked the Bias Incident Response Team to investigate what happened Oct. 1 and make recommendations on how to move forward. Co-chairs Val Ross and Merrill Magruder and the other committee members are still working tirelessly to determine the facts and make helpful recommendations. While I know that the university would have taken this step regardless of whether The DM published the story or the national media got wind of it, our reporting kept you informed of what was happening – one of The DM’s main reasons for existence.
We reported a story that needed to be reported, and it has already helped the university in profound ways.
Since then, the committee required all attendees of that night’s play to participate in a dialogue session set forth by the William Winter Institute. Monday, the committee also recommended an expansion of required curriculum for first-year EDHE classes, increased instruction for required co-curricular activities like attending plays for classes, support for policies and procedures that impact the university’s LGBTQ community and the development of workshops involving inclusive language.
Look at the difference that this story has already made for our campus, and we are only three weeks removed. When these recommendations are implemented by the administration, students on this campus will learn how to better live by the UM Creed’s virtue of civility for years and years to come. I firmly believe our reporting contributed to that.
Elsewhere, at the University of Alabama, the student newspaper The Crimson White reported a story about a black girl who was refused a bid by traditionally-white sororities. Their story went national much like ours, and UA forced sororities to distribute open bids after formal recruitment. As a result, six minority women accepted bids. The long-time sorority color barrier at UA was torn down because of the college newspaper.
At the University of North Carolina, the campus’ paper The Daily Tar Heel reported that the university mishandled cases of sexual assault. As a result of their coverage, UNC adopted a better approach to handling sexual assault cases.
People seem to have an obligation to complain when college media reports these types of stories, which is fine. People have the Constitutional right to voice their opinions and disagree with anything (or in some cases everything) we do. But no one can validate this: that The DM or college media do not matter. We strive to help make this campus a better place. That’s why I do what I do here at The DM, and that’s why our staff of 20 editors work for you.
You are the pulse of this campus. Our goal is to keep you updated on what happens here. On Oct. 3, we reported the accurate facts and kept you informed, even if some of you didn’t like or agree with the subject matter. We have continued to keep you updated on this story, and we absolutely love doing that for you.
We do it for you, the reader, and we love to hear your feedback.
Next time you walk by the newsstands and see a paper, pick it up. We work countless hours so those papers can be there for you. Help us continue to make a positive impact on our campus. I want to personally thank you for your support of The DM and college media. I sincerely appreciate it, and I know the editorial staff does too.
Adam Ganucheau is a senior Journalism major from Hazlehurst.