Beginning as a literary magazine in 1887, the Daily Athenaeum has evolved and grown into a large, multimedia news source that works hard to provide and uncover needed information for readers and hold the University and other higher authorities accountable.
The DA is editorially independent from WVU, and it will remain that way. News operations are student-driven and student-guided. Each newspaper readers pick up and each article readers see online is representative of hours of work squeezed into a student’s schedule that is already bursting with class, homework, studying and part-time jobs.
It’s not an easy job. No matter one’s role at the student newspaper and no matter how new one is to a role, our readers have an expectation of a high quantity of high-quality content. We’re young. We’re learning. But we work strenuously to meet and raise the standard in which we’re held. Being editorially independent, held accountable for our decisions and work, provides unique lessons and development for our staff members. It’s a commitment and responsibility that cultivates skills valuable no matter one’s ultimate profession. In addition, our independent status gives us the ability to dig deep into all topics that affect the Mountaineer community, letting us hone our investigative capabilities and bring to light injustices. It’s not an easy job, but it’s an important one.
Many student newspapers, both at the high school and collegiate level, don’t have an independent status. Some that do have such independence still face issues with administrative infringement. This hampers the growth of young journalists and the knowledge of the public that would otherwise be informed by independent journalism. Joe Severino, former DA news editor and current Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter, participated in a Student Press Law Center panel for Student Press Freedom Day in the National Archives at noon on Wednesday. “We’re only going to have good journalists if we invest in them at a young age, and we give them the legal protections and we give them the resources to succeed,” he said during the panel. Creating and maintaining independent news sources is a good investment for young journalists – and for democracy.
As was said in last year’s Student Press Freedom Day editorial will be repeated and emphasized in this one: the DA stands with the newspapers that face administrative censorship and demands that student press freedom be upheld across the nation.