Student Journalist Spotlight: Bobby Melok, The Montclarion

In the picture below, Bobby Melok describes himself as being “in full student-journalist mode: bags under the eyes, gym clothes, you know, stuff that screams out ‘I’ve been up for 48 hours straight, get out of my way!'” As EIC of The Montclarion at Montclair State University in New Jersey, Melok is overseeing the paper’s first semester that screams independence. Eighty years after its start, the paper has broken free from the school’s Student Government Association. It’s a leap of independence that earned The Montclarion the College Press Freedom Award at the recent ACP/CMA National College Newspaper Convention.


(Photo by Montclarion News Editor Kristie Cattafi)

(Photo by Montclarion News Editor Kristie Cattafi)


Below is a brief Q&A exploring Melok’s student press experience and his paper’s newfound freedom:


Write a six-word memoir of your Montclarion experience so far.


Growing up too fast. Second family.


To all the campus newspaper and j-student haters out there: Why does The Montclarion matter?


We matter to the students of MSU because we’re the only outlet that covers the administration and student government and what they do with tuition and fees. To haters, we matter because we’ve fought extremely hard to uphold the First Amendment and the rights guaranteed by it, even when it meant risking our newspaper. We’ve been where, I hope, most student newspapers won’t have to go.


What is the coolest part about being top editor at The Montclarion?


The office, and being one of the people the staffers come to for guidance, but mostly the office.


What has it been like so far this semester operating independent of student government oversight?


It’s been a big learning experience. I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about the business side of things. When we were under the SGA, we always had the cushion of their excess funds in case we went over our budget. Now, if we go over, that’s it, there’s no cushion. It’s taught us (right now, at least) to be more careful in our spending. We can’t really afford to drop $200 on Chinese food every Wednesday. That, of course, probably has my staff ready to kill me, because now they have to eat cafeteria food (a fate worse than death, from what I hear). There’s going to be some growing pains on all ends, as I’m sure any start-up company has, but we’ll make it through.


What is one question we should all be asking more often about the current state or future of journalism?


What role should the Internet play in journalism?


Check out the full Q&A here

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