Elise Gregg | Editor-in-Chief
The Miami heat has nothing on the Southwest scorch.
This summer, I went to Arizona for a fellowship with news outlet News21, reporting on the long-term effects of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade from the Cronkite School of Journalism in Phoenix.
We’re looking at stories on a national scale – an incredibly daunting task.
As a journalist, I’ve been challenged and stretched in my reporting and writing. It’s hard to connect national trends and phenomena to an individual level.
The stories are there – I’ve just had to learn to dig for them and tell them well.
It reminds me of what I’ve learned as a writer and editor for PantherNOW over the last three years as a staff member.
When I started as a contributing writer in August 2020, in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was thinking about my pieces and how to crank out an article as quickly as possible.
I wasn’t thinking about who I was writing for.
After three years, that’s changed. I can’t count how many times I’ve talked to our current staff writers about remembering to put readers first. It’s easy to forget that our articles are for the 50,000-plus degree-seeking students at FIU – to say nothing of the faculty, administrators and non-traditional students who read our work.
And folks back home – hi, Mom and Dad!
Realizing that as I stepped into the editor position a year ago opened my eyes to the importance of student media and our impact. This isn’t just something we do for fun or to stack our resumes.
Our mission is to be an organization that tells stories about students, faculty and staff. To write articles that help the FIU community know and understand their community better, to connect with other Panthers.
It’s the same goal that I have to have out here in Phoenix: to connect people with what’s going on in their world.
When PantherNOW covers campus life, student government, FIU administration and higher education, we aim to put our readers first and serve the university community.
Whether that’s campus life articles that entertain, opinion pieces to engage with you or SGA coverage to keep our representatives accountable, FIU students come first.
As I write this from the heart of downtown Phoenix, I’m already counting down the days until I’m back on campus. My work out here has been great, but it’s reminded me of the importance of local, community reporting – which is exactly what student media is.
I’m so grateful for all our staff writers, editors and readers. It’s an absolute privilege and delight to lead the team of dedicated staff PantherNOW has and to know that our work makes FIU a better place.
Though some may view student media as a stop on the way to “real” journalism or just a fun extracurricular, I wholeheartedly disagree. The professionalism and passion that our writers and editors show every day is enough proof that student media is valuable to universities and makes a difference in people’s lives – at least 50,000 in our case.
We must work hard to cover an entire university from top to bottom, develop relationships with sources and constantly think of how to innovate and improve to produce the best content possible.
It’s hard work but it’s a labor of love because we know what it means to students.
I’m so fortunate to have been a part of an award-winning student newspaper for the last three years – here’s to another year!
The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.