A Toast to the reader

Nathan Zoschke

My goal as editor-in-chief can be summed up in University News’ new mission: To provide relevant, timely coverage of the UMKC community by seeking truth, fairness and accuracy in reporting while preserving the integrity of U-News as an independent student-run publication.

I drafted this statement once my promotion became official after the last spring semester paper printed in April. The potential to produce a top-notch paper is readily apparent.

With a diverse, commuter-majority student body of 15,000, UMKC needs a reliable medium for students—many with hectic lives outside of school—to become informed about campus news and events and have an outlet to relate their concerns.

Building a successful paper can be a challenge in today’s journalism environment, where tradition has clashed with the inevitable: technology, progress and innovation.

Albert Einstein is credited (perhaps incorrectly) with stating, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Einstein or not, a knack for quantum physics isn’t needed to figure out this piece of advice.

Amongst journalists, their audience and their critics, an agreement can be reached that the newspaper business is full of insanity.

Many established papers are slow to adapt new technology and establish a robust online presence, but whine peevishly every time declining readership and ad revenue forces another round of layoffs. In reaching the young, tech-savvy demographic that is replacing the graying population of loyal print readers, newspapers face an uphill climb.

Most industries are quick to embrace new technology for its business potential. Print journalism has long been an exception, with the advent of the Internet age forcing its long-reigning stalwarts out of the pressroom and into the App store.

It’s no wonder many papers are making cuts to the bare bones. Beyond their aversion to change, too many newspapers do a poor job building meaningful connections with readers.

The impersonalized feeling of a print newspaper with yesterday’s news is unappealing when the Internet offers breaking news tailored to readers’ tastes.

As editor-in-chief, I will strive to make the U-News more relevant and accessible to students both in print and online, and most importantly, to be responsive to what our readers want.

The independence of U-News’ editorial content from the influence of school administration is part of a necessary system of checks and balances.

As an entirely student-run publication, we aim to provide students with a voice and an advocate. That’s why participation in the U-News is open for all students who have an interest in journalism and an eagerness to learn.

This past year witnessed U-News’ leadership move in a new direction. The positive changes that were made have proven that more are possible.

My hope is that our readership base of students, faculty, staff, administration, alumni and members of the surrounding community will find compelling articles in every issue and take advantage of what our publication offers.

Most importantly, I want to hear reader feedback, and make sure that any student who wishes to be constructively engaged is provided the opportunity to do so.

Because our senior staff takes extra care to thoroughly fact-check and edit every article, we have made a commitment to correct any inaccuracies and run a correction on Page 2 of the following issue and on our website, www.unews.com.

I strongly encourage our readers to leave comments on our website, Twitter and Facebook pages and to submit letters to the editor.

Please do not hesitate to contact myself, faculty adviser Jon Rand or either of our managing editors with any ideas, questions, comments or concerns.

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