By Veronica Hurtado
As I seek to become a professional journalist and media representative, I need the assistance of my adviser, faculty, staff, students and administrators because I’m working to inform people on what is going on in the college. Yet, that assistance is sometimes denied.
As a student journalist, I understand that I can’t force anyone to speak to me when I’m covering, the Board of Trustees, or the budget, financial aid, student elections, or anything related to campus. I also understand that I need to politely ask the individuals involved in the story for their permission to speak with them, and respect when they can’t talk because the District or the law prevents them from talking.
Yet, I find it unproductive to my learning when I get refused for an interview out of fear the individual will be misquoted. As a student journalist, I’ve misquoted people in my early work. I’m not proud that I did that because it’s a publicly humiliating act that will forever live in the records of Campus News.
Yet, in my time at Campus News that was the most rewarding lesson I’ve learned so far. I learned that I have to be diligent with my note taking, to have my recorder handy, and when in doubt, always ask.
The assignments I take on reflect the voices of the individuals who study, work, and play in this school and my writing only reflects those echoes. The reasons why accuracy is important for a newspaper is because it reflects the voice of the community and because newspapers are not in the business to misinform.
I have also learned that individuals who are interviewed for a story to be published at Campus News or any other newspaper, have the right to call the newsroom and ask for a correction.
In the past, individuals who have been interviewed for stories have neglected to use this right when misquoted. Lastly, I learned to accept that I’m not the first journalist who misquoted a source, and that I will not be the last.
Yet, as I continue to seek to become a professional in this field, I’m positive I will work with my sources to not misquote them or anyone else in the future. If a student journalist comes knocking on your door asking for an interview, don’t refuse to talk to them simply because you are afraid of being misquoted.
Please help me and my fellow classmates learn how to become better at our craft. After all we are still students.