News: The crisis of coverage


When I was asked to be the news assignments editor for the Daily Trojan this semester, I admittedly did not know what to expect. When I had been a news writer, my main responsibility was to go an event once a week, and write about it. I just had to make sure I was at whatever event I was assigned to and that I turned my story in on time ­­— things that are, in retrospect, easier said then done. So when I accepted the chance to become an editor, I figured my job was going to be as simple as finding out what events are happening on campus, putting them into a calendar and then forgetting about them once writers took them off my hands.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. At this point in semester, what I’ve learned more than anything is that news doesn’t have a calendar. Just as breaking news can disrupt the most relaxing day, even the most solid stories can hit snags. Though we strive to figure out what stories we’re covering weeks — sometimes months — in advance, news isn’t always something that can be predicted. As a section, that is something we always have to keep in mind. Though it’s easier to simply assign writers to cover events (and much less maddening, if we’re being honest), as the news section in a newspaper we have a responsibility to the readers to do more than just that.

My mentality from the beginning of this semester has changed. I’ve learned a lot of lessons (usually the hard way), and at this point, I like to think I have a much better idea of what people want to read about than I did before.

What we as a section strive to do every day is to keep the student body and wider USC community informed. We know that it’s important that you know about what the administration is doing to make the university a better place. We know that you care about what other students are doing as well to make a difference on campus, whether that’s through philanthropy, their own start-ups or calling for the university to take action. We know that you care about what’s going on in USG, about the Greek system, about whether or not crime is happening around campus, and we want that to be reflected in our section.

I can honestly say that trying to get all of these things to fit on anywhere from two to four pages each weekday has made me a more conscious member of the campus community, so I hope that reading the news section of the Daily Trojan has that same effect on my fellow Trojans. As members of this community, we should strive to become not only news-conscious students, but also active partakers in conversation on our campus, be it about combatting racism or increasing wages for workers.

Jack Walker is a junior majoring in EnglishHe is also the news assignment editor of the Daily Trojan