Journalism Matters, Right Now


Written by Rachel Becker, Editor-in-Chief

Julie Lewis, Faculty Adviser for the Muleskinner, and I got the opportunity to represent the University of Central Missouri and the Muleskinner at MediaFest22, in Washington D.C. in late October. At this conference, we learned a lot about innovations in journalism, but also about why journalism matters now more than ever.
MediaFest22 was a combined effort by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association for College Press and the College Media Association, hosted in the nation’s capital city. This convention was not only a chance for the Muleskinner to compete at a national level, but also to network with professional journalists and even hear from keynote speakers from around the world.
Two of the distinguished speakers we got to hear from were Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for their Watergate coverage at The Washington Post. Their impact on journalism is immense, setting new standards for investigative journalism in the 1970s. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Watergate scandal, and Woodward and Bernstein talked about how they originally broke the story and how journalism has changed since then.
Their key message was “good journalism takes time and energy” and in the time of the 24 hour news cycle, it can seem like journalism is more about timeliness rather than quality. However, Woodward and Bernstein explained that there is still a place for good quality journalism.
Some of the keynote speakers seemed to hone in on the idea of supporting small, local journalists at this time. They emphasized that it is not where you work, but the work that you do that really matters.
“So many people worry about the movers and shakers of the world,” Roland Martin, CEO of NU Vision Media, said. “Instead, we should be talking to the moved and the shaken. As those are the people with the real stories.”
Martin explained that our job as journalists is to give a voice to the voiceless, and that is the essence of good journalism.
While our primary goal when attending these conferences is always to represent UCM and to learn how to better shape the program around the Muleskinner, I felt like I got a lot more out of this conference than just inspiring words.
While this semester seemed to fly by, with four print issues of the Muleskinner, breaking news around every corner and amazing opportunities for coverage coming our way, it did feel like we were all waiting until this conference to take all the experiences in.
Meeting with my old newspaper staff, the Truman State University Index, was that time to really take a step outside of our newsroom and into the world of another. I got to catch up with my former Advisor, Don Krause, and the Index’s Editor in Chief, Genna Tlustos.
This meeting solidified why journalism matters to me, because it is what combines us. The Muleskinner staff, The Index staff, all the attendants at the convention all cared so deeply about one thing: Good journalism. Being able to talk about the trials and tribulations of our newsrooms for hours, and staying up until 3 in the morning brainstorming how to make our newsroom better, that is all part of the job.
This trip solidified to me why I do what I do, why I spend hours a week in a newsroom, why I bring a camera to every event, why I carry around a notebook full of story ideas. I do it because I love journalism, and it was empowering to be in a room where everyone loved it too.