Comm Week panel shows why journalism is important

Column

When I first heard that the Elliott School’s Comm Week was not going to have communication students going to small panel sessions this year, I wasn’t sure what to think.

Then I heard about the large panel discussion featuring Gregg Marshall and a group of media professionals, and I thought I would hate it because I thought it would just focus on sports, which I’m not the biggest fan of (which is ironic because I’m a sports reporter at my other newspaper). Yet, as they say, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, which is why I went into the panel feeling optimistic.

The panel featured a discussion about media coverage of the men’s basketball team’s run to the Final Four, and Marshall also discussed how he and his team work with the media during the regular season.

There was one statement by Marshall that stuck out to me: “I value media,” Marshall said as the discussion started. He then went on to explain how he prepares his players for speaking to the media and how he encourages them to be professional and courteous.

Hearing someone, especially someone like Marshall, say that people in media are valued reminds me of why I went into this business in the first place; not only do I love journalism and getting to tell peoples’ stories, I’m serving the community by presenting the information to them.

There’s nothing better than having a career where your work impacts the community on a daily basis. Not only do I work here for The Sunflower, I also work for the merged Andover American/Augusta Gazette newspaper, and I’ve been told by complete strangers how they value the work that I do for my newspapers. There is almost nothing higher than having people you’ve never met tell you that they value your work.

It is sometimes said that journalism is the fourth branch of government. We journalists present information to the people that others can’t or won’t give. Journalists expose wrongs and hold people accountable. Even though this isn’t the highest-paying career, it is one of the most fulfilling, because we serve the public on a daily basis.

Thank you, Coach Marshall, for reminding me of the importance of media and journalism. It means the world to me when I know people are impacted by the work I do. It’s why I love this career and why I wouldn’t be happy in any other line of work.