Belinson: ‘Student journalists matter, so respect what we do’


Sports Editor Matt Belinson is a senior in journalism and mass communication with a minor in sociology.

Matt Belinson

Working at a student newspaper has changed my life. No question about it. 

The Iowa State Daily is my second family and each one of the people I work with has poured their hearts and souls into amazing stories the Ames and Iowa State community needs. My fellow writers on the sports staff have renewed my passion for covering and analyzing sports and have made me a better leader over these last two years in my role as assistant sports editor.

Watching all the hard work we do as a staff makes me smile every morning when I wake up and read the Daily Dose (subscribe to that by the way). I hear on our Discord budget meetings and see in our work that as student journalists, we are ready to take on challenges and do it with a smile on our face every time.

Unfortunately, some people doubt how hard we work and how much we matter in the world of journalism. This column is for those people, because I want them to hear how much I care and how much I know my colleagues care.

Most people want to use the label “student” in student journalist as a caveat on our work, saying we don’t do “real” journalism. I know text message lingo isn’t permitted in our publications, but if I could, I would have put a laugh out loud right after that statement because it is so false.

Those people could not be more wrong and the fact people continue to discredit and underappreciate the work we do on a daily basis is what fuels me to keep proving them wrong. 

So, as you read this and watch us do our work day in and day out, respect what we do as student journalists, because we work just as hard, if not harder than “professionals” in our field do.

We’re the ones attending college during a global pandemic, balancing classwork with our interviews and story assignments. We can’t be in our newsroom this year, and we are still getting our stuff done. We’re the journalists that have to face increased scrutiny and dismissal for our age. It’s a joke really.

No matter the adversity, I have seen the Iowa State Daily staff come together, find solutions and produce really great content our community has benefited from.

I love my fellow Sports Editors Zane Douglas and Stephen McDaniel. Those two have been blessings in my life these last two years and without them and their unwavering support, I might not be where I am today. They are constantly looking for ways to serve the community and create new ways to tell stories that matter.

My appreciation for my fellow student journalists at the Daily goes beyond the sports desk.

Kylee Haueter, Jill Even, Kate Kealey, Madison Mason, Margaret Troup, Sydney Novak and Amber Mohmand are so good at their jobs and it is such a privilege to work alongside them all. They keep me in check and make me look at how hard I am really working and usually push me to do more. 

Logan Metzger and Gabby Lucas both have dominated their new roles this year as managing editor of content and managing editor of production. Each day, they know exactly what needs to happen and no matter how much classwork and daily stress they have, they continue to make sure we all do our jobs effectively. Their commitment and constant drive to get things right is something I have tried to emulate for myself and the sports desk.

Victoria Reyna-Rodriguez, our lovely engagement editor at the Daily, is not only great at her job, she is also a great friend.

Ever since I met her at both of our first new staff training in Fall 2019, we have helped each other grow as journalists (she has definitely helped me more of the two of us), and I am very happy to see her in a bigger position at the Daily. She is a strong leader who doesn’t back down from anything. Student journalists like her don’t have time for your disrespect of our work. 

Then we get to Sage Smith.

As our editor-in-chief, Sage has made sure to show her genuine love for us all and express her passion for making the Daily the great journalism pillar it is. I’m so happy she is leading us through the craziest year in history and am so amazed with how strong she has stayed in a time where no one would blame her for not knowing the answers. Sage represents my exact point: student journalists aren’t a joke, in fact, we are serious about what we do.

After all of my praise for my fellow staff, if you are still confused on how to view myself and the Iowa State Daily, let me help you out one last time.

Student journalists and student journalism matters, so respect what we do.