I look out into the crowd, and the staff unity I see from up here is incredible. Publications are all about collaboration, and your fellow journalists are your team, your tribe, your family. I know that the hours you put into your publications provide lifelong skills and memories. When you graduate — whether you’re a member of the Class of 2016 or if graduation is four years away — your advisers are people you will e-mail from college, they are people you’ll see during the summer to reminisce about deadlines and tell crazy stories, and they may evolve into friends that you share your jobs and lives with as you grow older. As an adviser, I could stand up here and tell you how important journalism is to me, how special all my editors and writers are, and how memorable our process… but I know you could tell me a similar story about your publication experiences with your own adviser.
But here’s something you may not know: your adviser is special to me, too. When I look out into this crowd, I see people who teach me and make me better at what I do. There are advisers in this room who’ve given me ideas that refine our workflow and that got us online. When there have been staff or school challenges, they’ve offered empathy, advice and resources. We’ve shared curriculum ideas, exchanged publications, and provided sounding boards on many, many occasions. We’ve celebrated each other in moments of accomplishment, like today. We hold each other to exemplary standards of ethical and quality reporting in our publications. This is a continual learning process.
Journalism education is not a solitary endeavor — although it can feel that way when it’s just adviser and staff in a building. I’m so grateful for organizations like Journalism Educators of Minnesota and the MN High School Press Association, programs like the MNtors, national resources like JEA and NSPA — they provide the educational framework and facilitate many opportunities, like this convention, that link us together so we aren’t lone publications in our respective schools. They’ve made the adviser I am today. This experience? It makes us something more. It affords us a broader vision of journalism and journalism education and allows us to dream of what is possible… what comes next.
It’s a new year, and — as I tell The Rubicon staff — your publication is a class, a club, a calling… and it’s ready for whatever you have to bring. So bring it. If it’s something completely new, we’ll learn it together — journalists and advisers. That’s what education is all about.