Once, during my freshman year of college, my byline graced the front cover of The Oracle.
The women’s basketball team won the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, they were my beat.
While far from hard-hitting journalism, it was a proud moment in my young writing career. My mother still has a copy of that front page at her home.
It’s sad that there are those among the faculty at USF that want to prevent others from having that same opportunity.
It’s sad, too, that there are others still who want to combine the editorial efforts of two distinct papers into one beige, nondescript publication.
Student newspapers should exist to reflect the identity of just that: the students.
Collegiate publications exist to serve the interests and needs of the student body, not the overall monolith that the university projects to the public. Combining the attributes of The Oracle in Tampa and The Crow’s Nest in St. Pete would rob both of their mission: to serve their students.
Other suggested efforts to curb publishing costs would bring to an end the very spirit of The Oracle and Crow’s Nest altogether.
As the university transitions into a new presidency, there are also debates over who or what should share in the burden of financing an on-campus football stadium and more. Isn’t this the most vital time to provide students a reputable outlet for their journalistic artistry?
Consider too the ongoing national debate about fake news.
The only way to defend or persecute the existence of fake news, let alone combat it, is for genuine journalism to have the opportunity to take center stage.
USF administration, instead of silencing students, should promote civil discourse. It can do this by allowing the campus papers to thrive as separate, distinct entities.
Finally, I offer these thoughts: A university that changes its logo, its slogan and acts to silence students by consolidating its award-winning publications fails to be more than a for-profit experiment.
What’s preeminent about that?
Alex Cobb is a USF alumnus with a degree in religious studies and a former Oracle sports writer.