Student Press Differs from Professional Press: Reason #1,333,668

Our chief copy editor quit yesterday.  It was a decision that had nothing to do with the campus newspaper.  As a student burdened recently with financial strains, she simply cannot afford to return to the university in the fall.

She had been one of our most passionate staffers– staying late, engaging with the words set before her and the staffers sitting around her.  She had recently undertaken the larger project of overhauling our badly-in-need-of-repair house stylebook.  Awhile back, she had discussed the upcoming year with genuine excitement.  All past tense now.  Instead, in the present, she is moving on.

She let us know about her situation in an email.  It is a letter of resignation in every sense of the word.

The whole thing strikes me as sadly ironic.  In an economic climate in which evermore news outlets cannot afford as many workers, a willing, eager student simply cannot afford to work for us.  Just one more reason the student press differs from the professional press.

She is the second higher-level staffer to resign.  Our incoming director of advertising abruptly walked away about a month back.  He told us he had realized that his fall class slate and extracurricular commitments would hinder him from giving the position the necessary 110 percent.  I admit, my first reaction was muted anger. We had been grooming him for awhile and paid for him to accompany other staff on our annual sojourn to the spring CMA West Coast convention.  All of this was built on the premise/promise that he would be taking the ad reins in August.  Then, it suddenly wasn’t in the cards for him anymore.

My initial grrrring aside, his decision ultimately of course wasn’t even remotely traitorous– and he even had the courtesy of informing us of it with some time to spare re: finding a replacement.  Students have a boatload of competing priorities– courses, clubs, internships, side jobs, a social life, a smartphone, naps, a workout routine, study abroad.  It’s always been like this of course (save for the smartphones), but it’s doubly ironic nowadays.  In an era in which tons of journalists whose number-one priority is news are being kicked out and left out, some students just don’t have the time to fit journalism in.

 Just one more reason the student press differs from the professional press.

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