What it means to be a student journalist


Designed by Jack Kleeberger

In honor of National Scholastic Journalism Week, Magnet staff looks at the responsibility of being a student journalist

OHS Magnet Staff, Editorial Board

History at OHS

For over 100 years, a steadfast tradition of integral student journalism has been a staple of the Owatonna community. Established in 1920, the student-run newspaper, OHS Magnet, has prided itself on accurate and entertaining news coverage. Believing that in an academic world of a student majority, student voices are the most important. 

The newsroom is a place of conversation, where talk meets action and action creates. OHS journalists are not bogged down by opposition, they are not hindered by the shadow authority may cast upon them and they are never afraid to stand in the face of adversity. 

Personal development 

Although the world of communication looks vastly different than it did 100 years ago, the same basic principles apply to accurate reporting. A student journalist can expect to grow in a multitude of different areas: conversation skills, writing abilities, interviewing tactics, grammatical correctness, photo precision and editing, all of which are essential to the function of a well oiled newsroom. Here at OHS, students can expect to grow in all of these areas, arming them with valuable lessons that will be used later in life. Whether it’s a college campus or the workforce, understanding people better and leveraging knowledge is imperative for success. 

Unlike ordinary classes, becoming a journalist subjects students to an autonomous learning community, where venture and responsibility are placed solely on the young adults. It creates a practical experience that combines not only journalism, but business interests, political operatives and the meaning of historical implications. Furthermore, the environment of the newsroom caters perfectly to creativity and group work. This practical experience catapults students into a work environment they are ready to handle. 

What journalism can do for a school 

Every high school across America, public or private, has a need for student journalism. The inner workings of academia can seem endless, the chain of communication may seem negligent and the hindrance of student voices, rampant. This is where journalism can shine. Connecting students from all corners of campus, sharing ideas, events and capturing moments, all made possible through the young journalists. Because of the newsroom, the idea of a student governance can finally come into fruition and level the playing field for all. 

What is the benefit of such an academic world? By playing such a vital role in the heart beat of a school, students, teachers and administrators can expect their voices to ripple through the community at a much higher rate, allowing them to connect with parents, grandparents or other family members on a regular basis. The resulting consequence of this is a world in which parent and child relations are more suitable for higher graduation rates, lower disciplinary needs and greater academic involvement. In a nutshell, a student-run newspaper brings the academic community closer together. 

Our freedom is never more than a generation away from collapse. The encroachment on our liberties doesn’t have to come in the form of militarism, and it likely won’t.

— OHS Magnet

The future of journalism 

A student-run newspaper has all the potential to bring a school together, help amplify smaller voices, teach students the inner workings of the school, hone reporting skills and shape creativity. However, the roots of journalism burrow much deeper than the ordinary seed. 

At the most fundamental level, free press is the heart of a free society. When an adviser takes on the role of managing a student newspaper, their main objective is not developing great writers or producing the finest work, they are there to help orchestrate the next generation of free men and women. In the phrase of Berry Goldwater, “Peace through strength.” Our freedom is never more than a generation away from collapse. What we need is to have the strength and the courage to tell our enemies there is a price we will not pay, there is a point beyond which you must not advance. The encroachment on our liberties doesn’t have to come in the form of militarism, and it likely won’t. By learning from history we realize that nearly every great empire rises and falls from within. 

Student journalism offers our society a foundation of truth. It develops young adults into a generation of doers. It casts aside the shadow of doubt and allows people to stand in the face of corrupt authority, however monumental the task may seem.