[Campus Commentary]Campus media advocacy neededThe press council at my school, the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, has been virtually nonexistent for the last three years while the campus media, which make up the council, can not stop fighting over several school issues, including editorial policies.
But the press council started working again recently. The new heads of each media outlet came together and agreed the press council is needed despite the disagreements their predecessors had in the past.
I think that the past three years with no press council had a negative effect on the media outlets on campus, resulting in school reporters being unable to give their best in covering the news. It was also bad news for the students, whose tuition helps pay for the school media. Therefore, the reestablishment of the council was generally good news for everyone.
There are four media outlets at my school: The Argus; the Oedae Hakbo, the Korean language newspaper; the HUFS quarterly magazine and FBS Broadcasting.
Each has its own views and ways of reporting the news while they also have their own objectives as interest groups working on campus.
In many cases, the press council has helped resolve differences in such matters. It has also provided the media outlets many opportunities to exchange and share ideas and information. Such activities promote understanding and cooperation among the groups.
One of the changes that I am hoping the new press council will bring is to help us stand up to the professors who oversee the selection of articles and stories that they regard as important. In most universities, the rules give the editorial rights to the professor in charge and not the student editor. Such a rule gives the professor complete authority over students who may want to write about other things. Just a few months ago, the Oedae Hakbo staff refused to publish the paper for six weeks as it battled with the professor in charge of the paper over an editorial. The fight hurt both parties.
For many student reporters, changing such school rules will mean the relationship between the school and student reporters will become more democratic.
With the press council now working, its job is to gather students’ opinions and deliver them to the university.
It will be very hard for an individual media outlet to carry out such changes, but if the council speaks on behalf of the student reporters, the school may listen and decide to change things.
Because of this, I told my fellow reporters to participate in the council’s programs and not to let the press council again become inactive as it had been for the last three years. Sure, everyone is busy doing their work, but I think a little sacrifice is needed for a greater cause.
It is obvious that the press council will bring a good environment for journalistic activities, thus bringing better news to our readers. As the proverb goes: United we stand, divided we fall.
*The writer is a reporter for The Argus, an English newspaper at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
by Yun Ji-hun