STUDENT VOICE: Press and Policy Can Mix


By Georgia Kemmett, UM Sophomore

Following the Pulitzer Panel, I walked out of Farley Hall with a deeper understanding of the importance  and significance that comes with good journalism. Each and everyone one of us has a voice. While some  may be louder than others, the written word takes that voice, no matter how loud, and exemplifies it. 

For example, the Clarion-Ledger was a smaller newspaper compared to those it was up against for the  Pulitzer Prize, yet that didn’t matter when it came to voting. What did matter was the impact and  resilience that the staff writing the story exhibited while reporting the Mississippi Education legislation.  The staff pursued the story without the reward in mind instead wanting to make sure the public was  informed, a motivation that is seen less and less in today’s newsrooms. 

When Mr. Anklam and Mr. Ganucheau began talking about the pure power that comes with being the  thorn in the side of the powerful people who were elected to produce effective legislation I felt  exhilarated, reminded of the influence of the press. The “Hall of Shame” as they described it, a list of  names who voted against the legislation, prompted me to realize the pure power that comes with a name.  Oftentimes, one refuses to mention a name for protection. As long as your facts are right, go ahead and  name drop. You never know what might happen. 

Another major take away from this panel is that the press doesn’t always have to mix negatively with  policy. Recently, it feels like journalists are always at war with our elected officials. If the story isn’t  reported properly or, what usually happens, too much of the truth is published, then suddenly a huge  target appears on the backs of people who are just trying to do their job.  

Hearing Mr. Overby and Mr. Anklam’s talk of such a positive relationship with the governor was  shocking, yet understandable. Society was yet to reach the severe polarity that we’re currently  experiencing today. Knowing that such a toxic relationship isn’t always the case just shows that there is  hope for positive press and policy relationships. We just have to work for it.  

My final major take-away revolves around Mrs. Wolfe. I was admired by her pure passion not just for the  Brett Favre scandal, but for her coverage and investigation of welfare and poverty in-general. Not  everyone likes the same cup of tea, but in today’s society it feels like we’re shunned for liking things that  are different or not the norm. Hearing of the opportunity and relentlessness of Mrs. Wolf allows me to  fully believe that if wanted, I’ll be able to find a way to not only pursue my own passions, but a find  people who celebrate that passion with me.