Over my past three years working at The Daily Mississippian, I’ve been told that I hate a lot of things I love. Greek life, the Associated Student Body, the School of Journalism and New Media and the University of Mississippi in general are just a few examples.
Any time I would hold these institutions accountable to their promises, purposes or values, at least a few naysayers would come forward on social media — or occasionally, in person — to tell me I was wrong. I was wrong for asking those questions, for devoting space to negative opinions and for painting the university in a bad light.
That’s the thing, though. The news articles published in The Daily Mississippian don’t aim to paint any of these organizations in a good or a bad light — only a truthful one.
When I write about the pay of Greek house workers or highlight the struggles of minorities on campus, I do it because I love this university. And when you love something, why would you not want it to be a place of progress? Why would you not want to examine your organization for the good and the bad with the goal of making it the best it can be?
Still, with all of the criticism and all of the anger, interacting with Oxford and the UM campus as a DM reporter has changed my perspective.
This campus showed me that a 114-year-old Confederate monument can move. Law students can fight for the release of ICE detainees. Black student leaders can convince a university with a violent racial history to commit to reconciliation. And Mississippians can enact change.
When I began working at the paper in January 2018, my plan was to report on a few campus events, get some clips for my portfolio and make a little money while doing it. Instead, I’m leaving the DM office for the last time with so much more.
My coworkers have become my friends and mentors, my understanding of why Mississippi is important has grown immensely and I feel like the work I have done here has made a difference.
It has been nothing short of a privilege to report for this award-winning paper on a campus community that refuses to stop pushing for change. I’ve loved every minute.