As student journalists, we try our best to live by a code of ethics. For that reason, when starting a job at The Alestle, one of the first things we learn is to remain objective when covering stories.
We have to look at all the sides before going forward with a story or angle. We see potential stories all the time, and have to use our news judgment to decide if they follow the characteristics of newsworthiness and if they are factually based.
This past month, The Alestle covered stories involving the Faculty Association and the administration’s negotiations for a fair contract. It’s easy to get wrapped up as writers and provide coverage for issues that interest us as individuals. When people speak up and out against what they are passionate about, as humans, we want to take sides and give people a platform.
But, as professionals, we have to hear everyone out. There is always another side to the story, a fresher perspective or an outside look.
In the article, there was a discussion on if they could speak to the press, but the only way to know who is correct is seeing the agreement between the two parties.
But, sometimes getting that information can be difficult. People are unwilling to release records and agreements — even though doing so would not only make our lives easier, but it would also ensure everyone has the information they need to make their own decisions.
We cannot completely rid our publication of bias, but we at The Alestle do our best to try. Because, ultimately, our goal is to serve our university — to make it a better, more informed place.
We can let both sides express themselves, and we can share the facts, but our job isn’t to speculate or to hold a timer to anyone’s head. Our job is simply to share the story.
Another example is with the Board of Trustees. For both universities, there has been a lot of tension when it comes to board appointments and funding.
Staying objective is not unique to our coverage, but can be seen at a national level, as well. When the news first broke of the Covington boys, assumptions were made before the full story came out. As reporters, we should strive to get the full story — and get it right — the very first time.
It is our job as a publication to tell those stories and let others decide for themselves.
No matter what the example, we at The Alestle want our community to know and understand why we cover the stories we do.
We are humans, and we make mistakes. We are students learning how to perfect our writing, interviewing skills and conflict management. We want to cover what is happening on campus. If that is a dumpster fire, new lawsuit or the start of the Honey Bee Association, we want to cover all of it.
We are thankful for those willing to help us tell those stories. Every person who has agreed to an interview, carved out an hour of their day, picked up a copy of our paper or listened to our podcast — we are so thankful.
For those who do not, we simply ask you give us a chance. Promote college media — promote The Alestle. Help us to share SIUE’s stories.