Saying goodbye to Buff State and The Record

Jonny Moran, Executive Editor

As my time as a journalism student at Buffalo State comes to an end, I’ve come to recognize that I’ve been given more than tips on how to interview a subject and write a story. I’ve been instilled with a deep understanding of ethics and journalistic integrity. I’ve been taught to analyze media for accuracy and fairness by passionate professors who want to see their students tell the story of their world in order to better it.

Through the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of articles I’ve analyzed for objectivity and righteousness, or the hundreds (or thousands) of articles I’ve read by media outlets criticizing other media outlets for skewing or sensationalizing stories, the issue never landed so close to home as it did when The Record’s tussle with USG picked up national attention.

Don’t get me wrong in any way; I loved seeing such an overwhelming number of people support this student-run newspaper. I loved the security of knowing from the very first inquiry I received from a local media outlet that The Record would prevail in its First Amendment battle against USG.

But a creeping thought stayed in the back of my mind. I’m not unfamiliar with social media. I read the vile Facebook comments people post any time a local news outlet shares a story involving race or guns or the government. In my time here as a journalism major and political science minor, I’ve learned that people may dislike the media, but they loathe government. I knew that the public would love to sink their teeth into anything they viewed as an oppressive regime that was democratically elected (corporations rarely seem to do wrong).

USG Vice President Emily Leminger was sitting in for the president when our budget was frozen on April 2, which she means she wasn’t allowed to vote. She also had the unfortunate job of emailing me the bad news.

The Record and everyone behind us were right to get upset over the censorship of a college newspaper by its student government, but bloggers should have made sure the knew the facts before they crucified the one person on the student government’s executive board who didn’t have a vote. (The details of the vote were not made public until a week after the incident, but nowhere in Leminger’s email did she say she voted in favor of the budget freeze.)

I know it’s been well-discussed, but viewing the world through a computer screen tends to strip people of their humanity. Social media’s response to the recent events in Ferguson and Baltimore are evidence of this.

Daily Caller, if you compare someone to Hitler, make sure it’s a dictator or a eugenicist or a hipster with a fresh haircut. I don’t think the world is in any danger of Emily Leminger facilitating a genocide. Showing her picture next to a Nazi rally does less to illustrate a student error than it does your lack of historical perspective.

As I head out into the job market, I’ll be faced with challenging decisions in a field overwhelmed with calls for clickbait, sensationalist distractions and privacy invasions. From the rule of thirds to The Golden Rule, I’m thankful and proud to have had Mike Niman, Annemarie Franczyk and Brian Meyer shape the way I write and report.

Most of all, I’m thankful to have worked with such an incredible staff during my years at The Record. Dave DeLuca is going to hit it out of the park next year as executive editor. Good luck, guys. I’ll miss you.

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Twitter: @kathyfromsales