By Brad Hallier
I’ve never been an educator before this semester started. All I’ve ever known in the professional world was being a sports journalist.
When my time as a newspaper guy ended on May 31st of this year, my future was as uncertain as a typical college student’s. Fortunately, some outstanding people at Hutchinson Community College recommended that I become the new journalism instructor and adviser to The Hutchinson Collegian.
I love journalism. After my family and soccer, journalism is my true love. Having the opportunity to teach college students journalism was intriguing and exciting. Really, all I wanted to do this semester was pass on my love of journalism.
I don’t know whether I succeeded in that or not. But here’s what I do know – the seven students who were on staff this semester worked their baguettes off to make The Collegian the source to read news about HutchCC.
While I have never been an educator before, I didn’t come into this semester naïve. I’m well aware of what had happened with The Collegian the last few years and that there were some bridges burned. But I wasn’t concerned with any of that. One of the first days of class, I let my students know what our goal was for this semester – to have people read our product.
I wanted to see students looking at our newspaper. I wanted to see faculty and staff reading it. I wanted an increased web presence and improved social media. I wanted to see people sharing stories on Facebook and retweeting stories on Twitter.
Again, I don’t know how well we succeeded at that, but the results were encouraging. Several times this semester, the student-publications box in Lockman Hall was empty. Small newspaper stacks in Shears Technology Center, Lockman, Parker Student Union and the Sports Arena were often gone, or, at least, had been shifted around.
The students have done some outstanding work. From the Halloween edition to problems with Student Health Services to the best sports features on Blue Dragon athletes seen in this publication maybe ever, I can’t say enough about how well Merissa Anderson, Emma Cox, “Unfortunate” Brenna Eller, Amanda Carney, Lucas Barlow, Jack Greenwood and Cassidy Crites have done this semester.
I’ve never been in journalism for myself. Compliments, while appreciated, often embarrass me. And rest assured, I’ve heard a ton of compliments this semester, often geared toward me.
I appreciate it. I really do. But The Collegian is not about me. I never want to see my name in this publication again. This publication is by the students, and for the students and entire HutchCC community.
We’re living in interesting times, especially when it comes to journalism. When practiced properly and ethically, it’s one of the most rewarding and noble professions in the world. My hope is to guide students who take my class, and help them practice journalism the right way.
To the students of HutchCC, keep reading the newspaper. Take a journalism class (we have tacos and pizza!). And to the faculty and staff, thank you for welcoming me to your world. I hope you’re as happy with The Collegian as I have been. And please, if you have one of my students in class and you’ve liked what you’ve read and seen, pay them a compliment. They’re the ones who deserve it.