Newsrooms need refreshment. It was certainly a rough year especially for those working at the university media centers all around: Reporters were charged for plagiarism, editors were caught between censorship especially like in the case of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies weekly newspaper, and several newsrooms even announced independence. Nothing can justify the mistakes and troubles that were caused, but we need to acknowledge the reality of university press being fiscally supported from the publisher and the continuously shrinking pool due to the diminishing interest and credit of media. Nevertheless, lessons should be learned from the past and we should prepare for a better future. An atmosphere that encourages the press to fulfill its duty as a watchdog faithfully is needed, as critical reports are necessary in order for society to advance. Facts need to be published, not fabricated stories. College newspapers are not house organs or alumni magazines. Staffs and publishers should respect it as an independent forum where the community’s opinions can be voiced, and this made me reflect on the performance of the Ewha Voice this year.
A university can be a powerful force that moves the lives of its students, faculty and employees, even members of its local community as well. As such, the student media within the academic organization must be recognized as a public forum, where free expression is promoted and protected, and at times put under scrutiny.
Considering what an intramural paper brings to the table and that a college is a miniature society in itself, the printed columns could perhaps be a great training ground for both the readers and the writers in critical reporting, reading, and reacting. Real life issues in society are always closer than we think, and we are obligated to practice our roles as members. In the long run, this is part of education, a prerogative for students.
In “As Clouds Pass Above Our Heads,” Ben Okri, one of my favorite African-American novelists, writes: We can wake to the power of our voice / Change the world with the power of our choice / But there is nothing we can do / If we don’t begin to think anew.
Once I complete the last few lines of this editorial, I will leave everything on the editor’s desk and walk away. What I will take with me are my hopes that the college community with the aforementioned members would examine itself and ruminate upon the issues presented in these pages. A university is an educational organization, and we are students, where the best I can hope for is the support of our willingness to learn, and learn things right.
To the Ewha Voice, I ask for our staff to re-examine the commitment to free expression, and to the school, I request support of journalistic freedom. Viewership builds a strong voice, and a stronger voice fosters greater awareness of ongoing issues for the readership. Last and most importantly, I ask for the readership to take initiative, be aware, and take responsibility.