For nearly 125 years, The Battalion has been the student voice of Texas A&M University. We have been at the forefront of historic news both locally and nationally. Thousands of dedicated students have worked for this publication over the years and their efforts are displayed in the newspapers that line our entryway. Each one marks a milestone in this university’s long history and reminds us of the high standards we are expected to uphold.
On April 4, the independent student media company at Southern Methodist University announced it will dissolve in May due to lack of funds. SMU’s student newspaper, The Daily Campus, will become an online-only publication under the control of the university’s journalism department. In response, student-run papers across the country are working to #SaveStudentNewsrooms, rallying support and shining a light on the vital role of student journalism. For most college papers, this kind of self-advocacy doesn’t come naturally. We are accustomed to writing about others rather than ourselves. But student journalists are an integral part of campus life and we report on it in a way no other news outlet can, so if anyone is going to share our story, it needs to be us.
The Battalion’s staff works tirelessly every day, on top of full class loads, other jobs and outside organizational commitments. This is what is truly incredible about students at The Battalion and other student papers. We place journalistic integrity and dedication to our readers above outside responsibilities because we understand the importance of what we are doing. In this newsroom, we are not just writing and editing — we are giving students a voice, we are training future writers and are striving for excellence in the field.
This is a place of learning and we emphasize that everyday. From formal training at the beginning of each semester to working with writers individually on a daily basis, the editors work hard to help the entire staff improve. With the way the journalism industry is going, no one can be a one-trick pony. We strive to build our staff’s skills in a number of areas, including writing, photography, videography, page design and editing.
It is not easy being a student journalist, but it’s something we all love. The news never stops and we’re always ready. More often than not, we end up studying for our exams or working on projects while producing papers in our basement newsroom or coordinating stories between classes. While difficult at times, this connects us to the staff who came before us and to those who will come after us, building a sense of camaraderie and creating a network that spans decades and crosses the country.
Just during the time our current staff has been working, we have broken stories with national and statewide importance. We won an award for our in-depth coverage of the events surrounding white nationalist Richard Spencer’s visit to campus in December of 2016. Last semester, we saw all five living former presidents join together at Reed Arena for the One America Appeal hurricane relief concert. While stuck in I-10 traffic on the way home from Baton Rouge, our editors wrote about Kevin Sumlin being fired, then came directly into our newsroom and produced an entire edition on Sumlin’s six years. Eight days later, we created a full edition on Jimbo Fisher’s historic hiring and contract in the middle of finals.
Less than two weeks ago, freshman Mia Miller became the first female mascot corporal in school history, a year after the E-2 mascot company was integrated to include women. Our editors were the first to report on this, and statewide news all pointed back to us for reference. This past week, our staff worked hard to produce a special edition of the paper, doing justice to both Barbara Bush’s memory and one of our most important traditions, Muster. We had editors, photographers and videographers along the route of the motorcade in the afternoon, and inside the Muster ceremony that night.
We are fortunate to be at a university where traditions are so revered and worthy of sharing. As Texas A&M continues to grow and change, we’re proud to be writing the next chapter of our university’s history.
While we do not do this for the praise, we hope our efforts do not go unnoticed and that we, along with fellow student journalists across the country, recieve the support necessary so we can continue our work for our readers.
The Battalion’s editorial opinion is determined by its Board of Opinion, with the editor-in-chief having final responsibility.
Editor-in-Chief Brad Morse, Managing Editor Gracie Mock