Patch columnist Mark Konkol wrote that when shots rang out last week at his alma mater – Western Illinois University – no journalists from the student newspaper were available to cover the story.
The absence of Western Courier reporters was partly because several staff members were in quarantine at the time. But the paper also has a small staff and has struggled in recent years to find students who are interested in reporting.
Konkol, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is troubled by the diminishing size of the Courier staff. He wrote, “Without a vibrant Western Courier, students have a diminished voice that's more easily dismissed and ignored.”
Shop Talk panelist Will Buss is the faculty adviser for the Courier and he worked with Konkol at the Courier when both were students at WIU.
Buss said some students are enthusiastic and excited about print journalism but he said there aren’t enough of them. Buss said the student newspaper is not dead but it’s been a challenge to maintain it.
Shop Talk is a weekly panel discussion about journalism issues. This week’s program featured Will Buss, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University and advises the student editors at the Western Courier, the students at student radio station The Dog, and the WIU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists; Rajvee Subramanian, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University; and TSPR News Director Rich Egger.