I’m not good at hellos.
Until I get to know someone, I’m not likely to be much of a talker. That process can take weeks or even months for me. I’m often uncomfortable taking up any amount of physical or auditory space, and to this day I’m perpetually embarrassed at the thought that I can sit here and type words and have other people read them.
Some people, including former members of the staff at The Miami Student (if you’re reading this: hi, Madeline Phaby), make the mistake of thinking that I’m boring or don’t have much to say. Most people, if they stick around long enough, come to regret that mistake once they realize that I’m actually not a big fan of shutting up.
So why, you may ask, did I choose to run for Editor-In-Chief of this publication if I’m not prone to talking and I hate the thought of people reading anything I write?
The answer is simple and cliche; I’m a listener.
Journalists sometimes get a bad rap for being professional gossips. Some nefarious cynics may view them as hacks with hidden — or not-so-hidden — agendas and members of the political elite. (Side-note: I don’t know if any of you have seen journalists’ salaries recently, but if you can figure out how to become a member of this elite, please let me know.)
Neither of those perspectives has proven to be the case since I’ve joined The Student.
Gossips and hacks are talkers. At The Student, our staff is made up of listeners. As the only print newspaper left in Oxford and one of very few outlets producing original stories for the area, we have to constantly keep our ears to the ground.
The only way to provide our communities with the hard-hitting news it deserves is by actively engaging with and hearing those communities, whether it be Oxford, the Talawanda School District or Miami University itself.
Our role is not to be the loudest voice in any conversation. Our role is to amplify the voices around us to tell others’ stories and share their triumphs and losses. When the institutions that operate around us fail our communities, our duty at The Student is to investigate those failures and bring them to light so that those institutions can grow and learn.
Just as we aim to hold the institutions around us accountable, The Student is at the mercy of our community to hold us accountable, too. Throughout the next year, my inbox will always be open to questions and criticism and I will never shy away from those conversations.
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I’ve devoted countless hours and late nights to this paper. I’ve cried for it, I’ve had the most tense interactions of my college career here and I’ve made the toughest decisions of my life in the newsroom.
Maybe it’s the journalist in me, but at every step of the way I’ve asked myself why.
Why have I devoted countless hours and late nights to a student organization? Why have I skipped classes to edit stories and hold interviews? Why didn’t I even attempt to join a second organization and broaden my social horizons at least a bit?
The answer is simple; It’s worth it.
Students, faculty and staff at Miami deserve access to high-quality journalism that both unites the community and helps it progress into the future. Oxford residents deserve to have a team of writers constantly checking in on the local government and school board and highlighting local people of interest. Our staff at The Student deserves an environment that gives them the experiences they’ll need in their lives past college, regardless of whether or not they choose to go into journalism.
So to Miami: Hello.
Whatever I can do to bring this community the coverage it deserves, I’m here to listen.