On the Record: Diving into The Eagle’s Reporting Priorities

While The Eagle’s staff meets virtually for now, there’s always a certain buzz that accompanies the first news pitch meeting of each semester. New staffers are excited to learn the ins and outs of The Eagle, and returning staffers are eager to get back to work tackling new stories and projects. In this issue of On the Record, I want to give readers a better understanding of how the news section works and what we hope to accomplish this semester.

There are five sections that make up The Eagle’s news section, structured around some of the university’s major topics. The Administration and Local News, Campus Life, Community Involvement, Features, and Investigations sections are organized to best support our reporters in addressing critical issues affecting the American college community. Each of these sections has a focus on a specific area of ​​newsworthy items at AU, allowing our staff to report on various topics in the sections throughout the semester. We also have several beat reporters, each of which focuses on specific topics such as the coronavirus, Local News, Student Government and Culture. In addition, we launched our research team last semester, allowing reporters to focus on a small number of long-running but far-reaching and powerful stories.

For my first column of the new year and semester, I asked each of The Eagle’s news editors two questions:

What is the top priority in your section for this semester? What story or topic are you most excited to report on this semester?

Following the intent of this column to make The Eagle more transparent, I’ve collected their responses, which are listed below. Some have been lightly edited and shortened for clarity.

Jordan Young, Community Engagement Editor (jyoung@theeagleonline.com)

To learn more about the Community Engagement Editor role, read more here.

My top priority for Community Engagement this semester is building relationships with affinity and cultural organizations. Maintaining relationships with the leaders and members of these groups is important not only to ensure our coverage reflects the student body, but also to maintain and, in some cases, regain the trust of our readers.

The topic I am most excited about this semester is the disability and access needs of the AU community. The AU has a significant population with disabilities and with COVID-19 these numbers will only increase. The coronavirus has also exacerbated the issues facing students and staff with disabilities on campus, making this a particularly important topic to address at the moment.

Skye Witley, Editor of Administration and Local News (switley@theeagleonline.com)

The first story I wrote for The Eagle was for Administration and Local News and I’ve been in love with the section ever since. Previous ALN editors have taught me a lot about the editing of The Eagle, so my top priority this spring is to promote a learning environment where reporters can build on the skills they learn in the classroom. In particular, I plan to emphasize local coverage by sending reporters out into the field where they can learn on foot.

Like many large organizations, there are many areas in which American university governance can improve. However, AU also tackles many problems correctly. I am excited to emphasize this duality by presenting both accountability and solutions journalism stories focused on the administration. Solution journalism revolves around responses to societal, or in this case college, problems and serves to balance the bias of bad news in journalism, sometimes overemphasizing the negative aspects of a situation.

Kate Corliss, Campus Life editor (kcorliss@theeagleonline.com)

Life on campus encompasses such a wide range of the AU experience and its role in all of our lives has been so changed by the pandemic. I strive for all work in this section to be reported in a timely, digestible manner so that readers receive important information about concrete changes to policies, campus activities, and more as they occur and how all parts of our community are affected.

Clearly the pandemic has affected every element of campus life and this section needs to be acutely aware of exactly what updates are unfolding, as well as who it feels most acutely. As we continue our personal return, I am interested in how the AU is dealing with growing activism about health and safety from the disabled community on campus. I am also interested in the recruitment of Greek life since the abolition movement gained traction in the summer of 2020.

Fariha Rahman, Feature Editor (frahman@theeagleonline.com)

My top priority is to forge connections with new and old campus organizations to gain a better understanding of how best to represent our work to the entire student body. Over the past two years, our student base has changed while we’ve been online, and now that we’re back in person, I definitely want to get to know myself and The Eagle’s coverage again with any students we may have missed.

I am thrilled to report on how another semester impacted by COVID-19 is impacting campus engagement in terms of events and how this shift in student priorities is impacting campus culture. A good example of this is the annual Founders Day Ball. Historically, there has been a high demand from students to allocate funding elsewhere, but we now have two classes of students who had their high school experience impacted by COVID-19, and their priorities about what they want their campus culture to look like are definitely different. of their older peers.

Dan Papscun, Research Editor (dpapscun@theeagleonline.com)

Our top research priority this semester is to cement our place among the wider Eagle staff by continuing to coordinate and support projects in other sections, while perfecting our own FOIA, data and resource development skills. I am excited about the opportunity to use data to report on a variety of university events, especially those related to abuse and inequality.


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