COLUMN: Answer the call Spartans, become the next leader of The State News


Solis_Ben1

For any organization to thrive, it must have the right kind of leadership at the helm.

Whether you’ve joined a registered student organization, Student Government Association or a sports team as a student-athlete, the success of your team hinges on the way your leadership acts and executes decisions.

The newsroom of Central Michigan Life is no different.

In the summer and fall 2014 semesters, I will have the honor and pleasure of serving as the newspaper’s editor-in-chief. It is a position that I, as a journalist, hold in the highest regard.

I decided to step up to fill the vacancy left open by our intrepid leader, editor-in-chief Justin Hicks, but I also applied last semester seeing a need for consistent leadership.

Throughout the 95-year history, CM Life has been fortunate enough to produce a stable of experienced, young editors who were willing, able and tactically ready to take the top position.

In the case of Michigan State University’s The State News, which has an equally lengthy legacy of quality and consistency, that stability in experience is running thin.

According to editor-in-chief Ian Kullgren, neither the editorial staff nor reporters have answered the call to replace him.

Kullgren said many of his editors, reporters and other staff members are young, both in terms of age and academic standing. He said he doesn’t see their youth as an impediment to their ability to lead a newsroom.

However, many of them have expressed a discomfort with the idea of moving into a leadership position too soon, especially as far as the top position is concerned.

His assertion that some might not want to move up too quickly is one that rings true to my own situation.

This is my first year at CMU. I transferred from community college and had to learn the entire university structure, both as a student and a journalist, in the span of two semesters.

My newness didn’t stop me from charging ahead, and nor should it stop the reporters and editors at The State News.

Another issue Kullgren mentioned was the fact that the journalism department at MSU is shrinking in numbers. They have about 200 journalism students in the program, which is tiny compared to the outside perception that the university has one of the more mammoth journalism programs.

Much like professional newsrooms across the nation cutting their numbers, the number of journalism majors taking up reporter and editor positions at The State News is also dwindling.

Fortunately for the MSU newsroom, the deadline for EIC applications has been pushed back to accommodate their group and to give more time to decide if someone wants to answer the call.

I implore my future colleagues and peers to consider taking every promotion they can in this industry to gain the knowledge and experience we’re going to need when facing the new media challenges already here, and those on the horizon.

You are the future. Embrace it, and stand ready to be the next leader of The State News.


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