The influence a student newspaper can have on a university community is astounding. As the school year draws to a close, we would like to recap the impact we believe this newspaper has had on UST in its first year of operation alone. Though we are still growing and have many stories to investigate, we would like to reflect on our coverage thus far.
Prior to the Celt Independent’s presence at UST, students had not had a source of objective, professional campus news for more than a decade. In the last seven months, however, we have provided students, faculty and staff with 85 independently researched and published stories. Our goal has been to provide students with the objective information and means to form and voice their opinions as active members of UST, and we believe we are succeeding.
We are proud of the more controversial stories we covered this year, which included informing readers about the University’s grand plan for change named “The Call Toward Tomorrow;” alerting students about the ongoing mildew issues in Guinan; clarifying rumors about the suspicious man reported outside Clare Hall; tracking the University’s transition into NCAA Division III; and exposing Crooker Cafe’s numerous health code violations. Most recently, we covered the abrupt and drastic changes to the structure of UST’s student organizations and helped students make informed decisions when voting on these crucial matters.
Our staff has also written more personal stories about faculty and students, including a genetics professor who teaches tango, the University’s octogenarian archivist, and the experience of nontraditional students on campus.
Our stories have received a range of reviews and reactions. We have fielded complaints about balanced, factual stories such as the mildew story simply because we have exposed issues students need to know about. We sparked an important public conversation about the firing of the IT team that would not otherwise have had a fact-based forum. We have been watchdogs for the University by attending and reporting on SGA meetings, publishing the University’s monthly crime log, and closely following the student organization restructure process. We believe a greater student voter turnout this semester occurred in part because of our coverage. The UST community has learned about stories the University would not have disclosed. Faculty, staff and students continuously ask us what story we are working on next.
We would like to recognize every Celt Independent staff member’s hard work and dedication to this newspaper. Our staff has grown in its writing skills and learned the workings of a student newspaper. In addition to informing students, we are proud to provide communication majors in particular a hands-on practicum to enrich their classwork and hone their journalism skills.
We also want to continue to thank our supporters. We are grateful to the students, faculty and staff who have supported our newspaper by accepting our interviews, reading our pieces, correcting our errors and providing feedback on our coverage.
Further, we are grateful to the communication department’s alumni and faculty for giving this student newspaper life. Every professor in the department has helped the newspaper through mentorship in the newsroom and guidance in the classroom. Though we students can say we have fully and independently managed the newspaper through our own initiative, effort and judgement, you as faculty have supported and lead us every step of the way. Thank you.
As we prepare for next school year, the Celt Independent is proud to announce the 2019-2020 editorial team, who will gradually transition into place this spring: junior communication major Kennedy Sessions as editor-in-chief; junior international studies and communication major Lourdes Cotrino as assistant editor; and sophomore communication major Brittany Cristiano as associate editor.
The Celt Independent promises to maintain accuracy and fairness as our top priorities, and will continue to report the truth while holding student interests paramount. We are very proud of our first year of operation and plan for an even better second year.