Letter from the Editor: Where are our journalism majors?

Patrick Hobbs / Cluster Staff
Patrick Hobbs / Cluster Staff

Two weeks ago I sat in Willingham Auditorium, proud of my university and proud of our student paper, as Bob Hurt, former editor of The Cluster, delivered his Founders’ Day speech.

Hurt and The Cluster played an important role in Mercer’s integration along with the professors, administration and community members who paved the way for Sam Oni’s admittance to Mercer.

It was inspiring to hear him talk about such an important change on campus, and it was inspiring for me to know that The Cluster was part of that change.

I had the opportunity to meet Hurt last semester and talk to him about The Cluster and about Mercer as they both are today. This semester, SGA was kind enough to invite me to the luncheon with Hurt and Mercer administrators after Hurt’s speech.

Both times I spoke with Hurt, he was just as intentional, intelligent and kind in person as he appeared in his speech.

Hurt and his speech underlined why I want to be a journalist and why I believe The Cluster is important.

As a journalist, I want to serve my community, and as an editor, I want to make sure The Cluster serves the Mercer community.

The Cluster of Hurt’s time was an important voice for integration on campus. What will The Cluster of today champion? When students of the future go to Tarver Library and look at old copies of The Cluster, what will they think of campus? Will they be proud of the job we did?

I hope they will be. I hope that stories like the one I wrote about SGA President Raymond Partolan play a role in changing the conversation about immigration at Mercer.

But sometimes I’m not sure whether The Cluster can accomplish that kind of conversation change. We have been hard-pressed to find students willing to write for us this semester. Although we have a new, experimental journalism program through the Center for Collaborative Journalism, The Cluster has a shockingly small staff, few of whom are journalism majors.

All year I have asked myself, “Why don’t more journalism students want to write for The Cluster?” All day after Hurt’s speech, I asked myself this same question. We have the opportunity to do what Hurt did. We have the opportunity to tell stories that will change Mercer, but few students are willing to do that.

My challenge to the students on campus is this: If you want to be a journalist, be a journalist. The best way for you to do that right now is by writing for your campus newspaper.

It’s a journalist’s job to serve the community, and Mercer is your community. Why aren’t you serving it?

Write for The Cluster not because you want a resume booster or clips to show a future employer. Write for The Cluster because it is the job of journalists to care about the community they are in, and if journalists care for their community, they will want to tell that community’s stories.

We at The Cluster need more students to help us tell Mercer’s stories. Journalism major or not, if you care about the Mercer community, help us tell its stories.