Editorial: Student media is professional journalism

How college media can re-establish trust in journalism and combat news deserts

2023-2024 student editors, Wednesday, Sep. 13, 2023, in front of Moore Hall.

On the fourth floor of Moore Hall, magic happens. We hurry to deliver the news to you. Then, across Central Michigan University and Mount Pleasant, you pick up the paper; you scroll on our socials and see our headlines, our photos, our designs - the results of magic and work.

CM Life has served CMU’s campus since 1919, and throughout that time, we’ve been the voice of students, faculty and staff. 

CM Life’s business and advertising program was named the College Media Company of the Year annually from 2014 to 2020 by the College Media Business & Advertising Managers. The newsroom has been recognized with an Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker 100 recognition -- naming us one of the top 100 student media outlets in the nation -- and has been named the Michigan Press Association College Newspaper of the Year.

Starting last year and continuing today, we are making a commitment that wasn’t previously made at a strong level: We are bringing diversity and inclusion to our staff and our stories. We are not inhibited by challenges, and we do not stop when a story requires us to dig deeper and investigate.

Last year we highlighted the influx of international students at CMU and made sure their voices were heard when it came to a health insurance mandate. We celebrated our student heritage on campus and featured student experiences. In our coverage, we have also served the Mount Pleasant community.

And we have just started.

We are here to give a voice to those who aren’t heard. We are here to inform you and bring you truthful and trustworthy news, so you can make decisions in your everyday life. We are here to guard the freedom of speech, and we are here to fight for democracy. 

Last year, CM Life’s staff received appreciation and positive feedback from faculty, students and staff, as well as a diversity award from CMU. You told us how much impact CM Life had on your life. You told us how much power we have on this campus to spark change.

Last year was a change from CM Life’s past. This year, we were able to rebuild our foundation and trust in areas that were hesitant to be rebuilt 

Last year, some sources were afraid to trust CM Life with their quotes. Today, we receive feedback that we are balanced and fair — a renewed CM Life.

Our staff play a big role in that growth. We come into a newsroom where passion boils and brilliant minds work together in the name of something they believe in, and something they love. 

We are also students. We are balancing work, classes, student organizations, social life and our infinite, flaming, persistent commitment to student journalism on top of it all.

Student media is often overlooked and underappreciated, from sources being hesitant to talk to students, to readers not picking up our editions. 

The University of North Carolina's Hussman School of Journalism and Media conducts research   — into the growing problem of news deserts — places with one or fewer sources of reliable information. Here in Isabella County, student media is not taken into account.

Yet, with the coverage that CM Life did, with the professional staff whose life is journalism, we are able to take the “deserted” Isabella County out of that desert. We are able to provide our community with journalism just as professional as thenon-student media source. 

In our reporting, we are fair and innovative. We decide newsworthiness of the story through the eyes of the younger generation. We tell the stories from our heart. We hear you. 

We are student media. We are professional journalists. 

Read our printed editions on the second Thursdays of the month and daily at www.cm-life.com