Juandrew's parting words: Journalism, truth-seeking is crucial to building a better Rice
The relationship between the media and the subjects it reports on is often portrayed as adversarial. There’s definitely an element of truth to that, made worse in the Thresher’s case by the overlap at Rice between our audience and the subjects of our reporting. In order for us to do our job — to convey the facts as accurately as possible — we have to ask uncomfortable questions and tell more than just your side of the story.
The relationship, though, is also symbiotic. Without your help, we do a worse job, and having a successful student newspaper is beneficial to the community as a whole. Change on this campus can happen a variety of ways, of which the Thresher is just one. Our role is to inform and hold those in power accountable, with the same ultimate goal that most of us share: leaving Rice better than we found it.
The concept of journalism literacy is something we’ve had to work hard at developing over our past four years at the Thresher, coming with more than our fair share of learning experiences. This knowledge is just as important to subjects and consumers of media as its producers: It’s a valuable skill to know how to be interviewed, or to read an article with a discerning eye for credibility and sources. Whether through course offerings or specific trainings, the university should focus on better developing these qualities in its students, especially in student leaders who might find themselves on the receiving end of Thresher interview requests.
In interacting with the press, a natural instinct for many students is to keep a low profile. It’s easier to keep quiet — and it’s tempting to sometimes think that it might be the right thing to do, that it’s better to try to control the narrative and avoid the court of public opinion. However, sharing facts is essential to telling a more complete story. Not doing so ends up creating a factual vacuum that spurs speculation and misinformation. In choosing not to share, you are self-censoring.
In the end, we hope that every student, ourselves included, will work to better apply the ideals of journalism in our own lives. Investigating and combating rumors is part of the Thresher’s job, but also an effort every student should contribute to. Everyone should be part of asking tough questions of those in power and working to circulate the truth. We all decry the proliferation of of misinformation, “fake news” and a lack of credible sources in the larger world, but often don’t live up to our sentiments within our smaller domain here.
Rice students have the potential to address these challenges, and after four years of covering them we’re confident students want to do so. As the two of us move beyond Rice, we look forward to seeing your efforts.
Juan Saldaña and Drew Keller
2017-18 Rice Thresher Editors-in-Chief
More from The Rice Thresher
Before you attend a counseling session at the Rice counseling center, you will be told that “the RCC maintains strict standards regarding privacy.” You will find statements from the university that your mental health record will not be shared with anyone outside of extreme situations of imminent harm, and only then that your information will be shared with only the necessary officials. This sounds great, except that these assurances bear no teeth whatsoever — no enforcement agency ensures that Rice follows its public confidentiality promises, and there are no penalties for Rice if they break them. The Wellbeing and Counseling Centers should more directly communicate the limits of their confidentiality policies when compared to unaffiliated counseling centers, and students in sensitive situations should take the necessary precautions to protect their information.
The 109th Convocation ceremony was held in person this past Friday night, with no restrictions on attendance. Hundreds of class of 2022 Rice undergraduates passed under the Sallyport before meeting at Rice football stadium for the ceremony.
Late in the 2019 college football season, with his team yet to win a game, Rice head coach Mike Bloomgren called a team meeting. According to Cooper*, many of his teammates were taken aback by what their coach had to say.