News editor bids farewell
The first story I wrote for The Reflector was published on March 8, 2007. It was about a Students’ Association referendum on increasing the cost of the Universal Transit Pass.
As a bright-eyed first-year journalism student, the process of interviewing people, compiling information and presenting it in an interesting way was still foreign to me. Seeing my name in print was a pretty big thrill. I enjoyed giving students information about an issue that was (and still is) very relevant.
For the first time, I felt like I was part of the community at Mount Royal. I wrote a few more stories, and less than a month later, I signed up to be The Reflector’s news editor. This paper taught me the things you don’t learn in J-school.
More than two years (and countless stories) later, the shimmer of my byline has faded but the issues are still relevant. Mount Royal College is becoming Mount Royal University, a transition that fundamentally affects how this institution operates and how its students get an education.
Mount Royal is a commuter school, so campus life leaves a bit to be desired. Students drive here, attend their classes, and leave. How do I represent students when many don’t care about the school they attend? Where are the demonstrations, the crazy happenings, the fallout from 12,000 young, spontaneous and thoughtful people congregating in the same place?
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that covering this school was a chore at times. But I would also be lying if I didn’t admit how many amazing people I have met in my time here. People who are engaged and want to make a difference. People who quietly achieve what most wouldn’t even aspire to. People who struggle daily to serve and improve this institution — simply because they love it.
Mount Royal isn’t without problems. Students can’t find a place to park in the morning. Tuition and fees are increasingly expensive. The campus is too small for a university. Interest in our Students’ Association is weak, evidenced by the abysmal turnout and lack of candidates in this year’s election.
Engaging students is always an uphill battle. As Mount Royal changes, so must The Reflector. We have to live up to our name and be a true reflection of the student body we serve.
Unlike many other student newspapers, The Reflector is independent of both the college and the Students’ Association, and wholly produced by a handful of editors in our modest basement office. No professional designers, no salaried adult writers. Just a group of college students with the same experiences, the same doubts, the same unsettling fear of the future.
So we have a unique opportunity — and duty — to live up to our name and be a true reflection of the student body we cover, and are part of.
In my two years as news editor, this is what I have tried to work toward.
I’m passing the news section reigns into the capable hands of Robert Strachan, our former web editor and a close friend. I know he’ll bring a unique vision of what covering this school means, and I wish him luck. Although I’m moving on to new opportunities in journalism, I will continue to write for The Reflector as I finish my degree.
The next decade will bring enormous change to Mount Royal. The onus is on student journalists (however misguided or drunk they may be) to not only chronicle this change, but hold the powerful accountable and integrate ourselves into the digital reality of student life.