The first time I walked in to the Herald newsroom, I was sufficiently freaked out.
Here were students many years my senior, producing a newspaper that was chock full of important news, thought-provoking opinion content and gorgeous photos.
I knew I had to be a part of it.
Six years later, I’m sitting at my desk in a newsroom in Washington, D.C., knowing that I am who I am today because of my experience at the College Heights Herald.
Student media is…well, it’s essential. It provides a training ground for the next generation of great reporters, photographers, designers and editors. It allows students to gain valuable experience in doing real work relevant to their chosen field.
But most importantly, student media outlets do what all news organizations do: they seek to report the truth and hold the powerful accountable for their words and actions.
Over the past few years I’ve watched WKU and its administration wage an all-out assault on the Herald. From the courtroom to the pages of the local newspaper, the university has, in its statements and actions, made clear that it does not support a free and independent student press on its campus.
Dozens of student journalists every semester converge on the Herald newsroom to crank out the news. They pour their hearts, souls and even a few tears into the process. Along the way, they’re doing real work that will help them earn internships and jobs down the road. My journalism career started in the Herald newsroom, and so will theirs.
Without an editorially independent student newspaper, none of that would be possible.
The Herald is one of WKU’s oldest institutions. It must be kept that way.
This letter is part of the #SaveStudentNewsrooms movement. A student-led campaign designed to bring attention to the challenges student newsrooms face.
Brandon Carter is a former Herald editor for the spring and fall 2016 semesters. He currently works as a social media production assistant on NPR’s Washington Desk.