Decide for yourself.

If you attend a journalism school or keep up with journalism news, you’ve most likely heard something as of late about the Columbia Missourian’s conflict of interest policy and how it affects students working as paid or unpaid staffers at the paper.

**Transparency alert: I am currently employed by the Missourian as an assistant city editor, and have worked for them in other capacities as a reporter, copy editor and member of the community outreach team. That being said, I am also a third-year student at the University of Missouri. I should also say that my opinions and thoughts as portrayed on this blog are in no way representative of the Missourian or it’s staff. What I write and think is mine, and mine alone.**

I have many thoughts and feelings about the back and forth on this policy that I could bore you with, but I’ll sum it up briefly instead. If you want more details, I am far more riveting to converse with in person.

Short, sweet and to the point:

Journalists are people. Students are people. These two statements should be able to coexist peacefully in their many iterations. But a professional experience is also a professional experience, and if I was interested in anything less than what a professional newspaper experience entailed, I would work somewhere else.

Enough said. I’m more interested in what you all have to say.

So, for your reading pleasure, please see the links I have been perusing on this topic. Feel free to leave your own comments or interact with me on social media if there are any useful links you think I might have missed.

Links:

The Missourian’s conflict of interest policy as it stands, courtesy of the advanced reporting class blog.

A series of Dear Reader articles by Missourian Executive Editor Tom Warhover explaining the most recent revision of the policy.

An article from the Student Press Law Center accusing that the policy censors students

A post from the student-run blog, J-School Buzz, which also takes issue with the Missourian’s policy.

To draw some comparison, I also invite you to view some COI policies from other media organizations.

I also read the comments sections in all of these posts, where users, Columbia residents and non-residents alike, debate different aspects of the policy. (After last semester, I am fascinated by comments policies.)

A stupid mistake I can’t afford to keep making

I’ve done some stupid things in my life.

  • I cheated on a quiz in sixth grade.
  • I’ve had my dad kill spiders in my room when I’m home. And I’m 21.
  • I made a Myspace and actually agonized over my Top 8 at one point in time.
  • I wore leggings in 2000, way back before they were cool.

But probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever done is walk around like I have nothing to fear.

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Back in the swing of things

So as you might recall, I spent just about every waking moment last semester in the Columbia Missourian newsroom. Hilarity ensued, but by and large, it was a semester where I worked myself crazy. But in a good way.

This semester, with just the very first day of classes as a reference, I can tell this is going to be a much different experience. I’m a bit on the fence, you could say.

Not only am I back to academia, so to speak, but I am facing this semester with many friends abroad, a new beat, 18 extra hours of free time per week and a shiny new Illinois-issued-21-and-over driver’s license. I am having to transition into a completely different mindset.

And so far, it’s hard.

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