Looks like it’s going to be a higher education day here on Live from Silver City. Right now, we’re going to head southeast to Las Cruces, for part one in a series of posts on a topic close to my heart: campus newspapers.
As many of the Daily Press readers know, Jacqueline Armendariz has been serving as our intern the past two months. She’s a journalism major at NMSU, and, as a freshman there, began working for the campus newspaper, the Round Up. Positions at that paper
are were highly competitive, so trust that she’s a bright young reporter.
Our post today is focused on the Round Up. To understand the problem I’m going to discuss, we need to look at the process by which many student editors are selected across the country, including at NMSU and WNMU. The school establishes a “student publications board,” comprised of students, faculty and staff, which evaluates applications for the editor position.
This year, the board hired Mark Morris. Unfortunately, from what I understand, Morris has no background in journalism. Now, the Round Up is not tied to the journalism department, and operates as an independent organization. Nonetheless, campus newspapers are the hands-on classrooms for student journalists.
At WNMU, where I was hired as editor, its harder to find somebody with a background in journalism; WNMU has no journalism program. But NMSU is quite different, in that the j-school there is top-notch. The Round Up has an excellent reputation as a student publication, and that’s a direct reflection on the training these students receive.
So, why hire an editor who has no experience? That’s one of the questions we’ll be looking into during the next few days.