Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Letter from the Editor: The State News is celebrating our 50th year of editorial independence, here's to 50 more

June 15, 2021

On June 15, 1971, The State News received editorial independence from Michigan State University.

A full 62 years after our first paper was printed, we found the freedom we need to be able to effectively report on our university.

The State News has a fascinating history, starting as The Holcad in 1909, only to become the Michigan State News, which was later shortened to what we still proudly print on our masthead.

In flipping through 50 years of archives, one thing became incredibly clear to me: This place is really cool.

Student newspapers on the collegiate level are starting to become fewer and farther between. We have seen different organizations stop paying their reporters. We have seen some close their newsroom doors completely.

But that's not The State News. For 50 of our almost 112 years, we have been financially independent, granting us the freedom to report on what we need to without fearing the university would cut our funding or take away our space.

There are so few student newspapers left that have the independence we do. That's why there's so much pride when people say, "I work at The State News."

My experience at The State News is obviously vastly different than the experiences of the journalists who came before me — those who still think of their newsroom as being the one in the Student Services building we moved out of in 2005.

My experience is different than those who started 50 years ago, or those who started 10 years ago. In the past 50 years, we have lived different lives, seen different wars, battles and illnesses. The COVID-19 pandemic was and will be the biggest national news I will see in my four years (at least I hope, I don't think I can take anything much bigger than this).

I got to report on COVID-19. I got to report on three different university Presidents. But I never got to report on the terrorist attacks that happened on 9/11. I never got to report on a 1979 Magic Johnson beating a 1979 Larry Bird in basketball.

Just a year before I started at Michigan State, the world first learned of ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar's abuse. I truly believe that if it weren't for our independence, our five years of coverage would not be nearly as thorough or impressive as it is.

The truth of the matter is this: No matter when you worked at The State News, saying you did is a point of pride.

The student journalists who came before me and before this round of State News reporters paved the way for us to be able to celebrate our 50th year of independence.

It's true: Newspapers are dying. It's hard to compete with clickbait and big national news stations that are slowly but surely killing local journalism.

Newsroom spaces are being sold and more and more student newspapers are going under, but I'm hopeful that The State News is here to stay.

We've been reporting independently for 50 years, and I can't wait to see what's next. Here's to 50 more.

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