When passing through the university, let the university pass through you is a dictum that has now become a cliché. Yet, this point can never be overemphasized. Many enter the university (or any higher institution of learning for that matter) without any clear cut sense of direction on what the future holds. This is especially true of our contemporary society which places premium value on certificates at the expense of the content of the holder. The situation is not helped by the defectiveness of the institutions’ curricula which are at best dolefully out of tune with the society’s realities. Hence, one sure way an undergraduate can make the best out of their university education is active participation in campus journalism.
The term needs no exhaustive elaboration. It is the practice of journalism by students who are not necessarily studying for a degree in the field. They are not professionals in the real sense of the word but they strive towards professionalizing their schooling pastime. Therefore, student journalists are expected to conduct themselves in line with the ethics of the profession which include fairness, objectivity, truthfulness, accuracy and copyright. A number of advantages is embedded in being a campus journalist. Below are ten of the advantages:
1) Source of Moulding Opinions among the Generation of the Future Leaders:
Since it is the duty of pressmen to set agenda for discussion among the populace, the campus journalists too have that singular honour of being the opinion moulders in their campus. They give insights into various issues and offer their readers different perspectives to phenomena. These are privileges enjoyed by mainstream journalists and the student pressmen can reciprocate such on their campus.
2) Development of Writing Skill:
It can never be overemphasized that the key to perfect writing is continuous practice. Practice makes perfect, the old saying goes. Campus journalism provides the avenue for students to develop their writing skills. Through the corrections made by the editor as well as the criticisms of the general public, the writer will be prompted to improve their writing skills. The writer would not want to be a subject of public ridicule occasioned by bad grammar and poor vocabularies and as a result would make concerted efforts to develop themself in those regard. Workshops and other capacity building programmes that press organisations occasionally organize are also very vital in developing people’s writing skills.
3) Rise to stardom:
Campus journalism is one of the many ventures that create avenues for students to rise to stardom on campus. A good writer will easily attract notice and admiration of their colleagues and other members of the university or college community. And like student politicians, entertainers and entrepreneurs, campus journalists are afforded the opportunity of rising to fame on campus but with more dignity and prestige as their forum is usually seen as an intellectual one.
4) Projection of Thought:
A critical survey of youths shows that many are brimming over with brilliant ideas and innovations. This is especially so of undergraduates who are being taught various innovations and thought of great minds in the time past. Unfortunately, very few of those ideas come to limelight because of lack of projection. Campus journalism offers students such a big opportunity to project their thoughts to the public and get due constructive criticism of the idea to suit the society.
5) Opportunity to Connect with Different People:
In a society like ours that has an alarming socio-economic challenge of unemployment to contend with, what becomes the most potent survivalist strategy is connections with various personalities. Steven Johnson, an American media theorist, even corroborates this fact when he writes “chance favours the connected mind”. A Canadian writer, Douglas Coupland also wrote “in the same way you can never go backward to a slower computer, you can never go backward to a lessened state of connectedness”. Another advantage of being a journalist is the great opportunity it provides to meet different people of varying backgrounds. On campus, journalism allows students to meet students from other departments, faculties and halls of residence. It solidifies friendship and creates chances of being successful in life.
6) Correction of Societal Ills:
It is a truism that our society is being plagued with various various ills of different kind. The ills range from corruption, kidnapping, armed robbery, drug trafficking, human trafficking, child abuse, bad governance and many more. The university being a microcosm of the larger society has its own peculiar ills like gangsterism (in the form of cultism), indecent dressing, stealing, prostitution, sex for mark, in addition to the many societal realities being witnessed on our university campuses. The way to curbing such flagitious and anti-social attitudes is beginning the campaign against the acts from the campuses Which organ can best be entrusted with such a noble cause if not campus journalism. Bad leadership in particular is a key area campus journalism must be ready to combat for the profession of pen remains the conscience and consciousness of the society.
7) Enhancement of Academic Study:
Campus journalism is unarguably a perfect complement to academic study. Since writing, together with reading, is the major activity of a scholar, the vocation of campus journalism enhances those skills immaculately. Likewise for some, writing is a hobby. Being a campus journalist gives such people more leisure time.
8) Development of Critical Thinking:
Writing many a time can be tasking. The ideas to be conveyed might be in the head but the way to project them could be problematic. Yet, a campus journalist might have been given a deadline to submit an article, a report or any other writing which demands deep thinking. Therefore, such a student pressman will put their brain to task to meet the deadline.
9) Training Ground:
Campus journalism is an essential training ground for those who have ambition to become practicing journalists in the future. Journalism students especially through campus journalism have the best opportunity to put what they are being taught in class to practice.
10) Big Opportunity for Career Diversification:
Many a person has become a mainstream journalist because of their venture into campus journalism. The writer means those who studied nothing related to journalism at all in university or college. Examples abound everywhere and the one which readily comes to mind is Fisayo Soyombo, a graduate of Animal Science from University of Ibadan but who is now the Editor of TheCable, an online media platform. The only experience of journalism Soyombo had before becoming a journalist at TheCable was being a campus journalist at the university and becoming the President of the Union of Campus Journalists while on campus. A bigger example is Reuben Abati, the former Editor of the Guardian newspaper outfit who later became the media aide to former President Jonathan. Abati studied Theatre Arts in the same university with Soyombo. Others, who through campus journalism enhanced their career included but not limited to Late Chinua Achebe and Mabel Segun, the first editor and deputy editor of The Herald, the Ibadan University’s only paper at the time respectively. Both later became accomplished writers in their career.
This is a guest post by Tope Lanre Bello.