Letters to Loyola: The Award-Winning Maroon
September 30, 2021
Loyola has one of the best college newspapers in the country, according to multiple rankings over the course of decades. Not only do The Maroon reporters consistently clean up in the awards for college journalism, they also win awards for local journalism against the professionals.
And, of course, The Maroon is not just a newspaper anymore. (I laughed when a student editor told me once they still run a print edition because it makes us older folks on campus happy.) Print journalism, like so many industries, has suffered serious disruption from a world of instant communication. There is no choice but to change.
From the beginning, The Maroon – and our brilliant communications programs – have pivoted. The Maroon finds outreach to new audiences through social media channels I’m too old and uncool to understand. When The Maroon reporters come interview me, it’s with multi-media capability, checking on my lavelier microphone and adjusting the camera. Our School of Communication and Design works to teach students the tools to remain a step ahead, including a class on drones that I would love to take myself.
It used to be that The Maroon reporting existed as permanent record only if you came to our Loyola archives and checked the microfilm. Now, however, its reporting lives forever on the web, available to a far broader audience around the world. With that fact comes even more intense pressures to get it right. Our students work hard to find the opportunities that come from a sudden democratization of the media without falling into the traps. They work hard to be a serious voice, seeking truth and not just clicks, governing themselves with journalistic ethics even as those seem to be falling away.
The point of Catholic higher education is to seek truth with humility, to be a clarion call of what matters most, all while admitting you could be wrong. Our students embody that mission. The Maroon reporters, know that as much as you put me through my paces, ask me some ridiculously hard questions, and have occasionally confused my sarcasm for sincerity, I could not be more proud of you.
Prayers and blessings,