Why student press is essential to Iowa State


ISD Staff

It is crucial for every community to have a local and independent source of information to bring issues of public interest to light. 

For the last 133 years, students working at the Iowa State Daily have performed this job for Ames. If it were not for freedom of the press, there would be decisions being made behind closed doors resulting in an uninformed public.

The Iowa State Daily has never been content with simply covering campus affairs. Even though students run this newspaper, the demand remains with that of state-wide publications. 

Students have covered your city politics and elections, tuition and tax dollar changes, legal disputes and public affairs in hopes of providing this community with a local dispatch. 

The Iowa State Daily’s coverage also hopes to bring the community together by sharing the experiences and accomplishments of those who live here while highlighting what makes Ames distinct. 

When news breaks, Iowa State Daily journalists are there to ask questions alongside full-time reporters from across the state and nation.

Thanks to our reporters, who are unpaid, and the editorial board, who are paid by a small monthly stipend, we still manage to produce award-winning content that is valuable to our community. In the last month, the Iowa State Daily’s managing editors Molly Blanco and Amber Mohmand won first place for their reporting on crime and court at the Iowa Newspaper Awards after investigating the murder of Iowa State Student Shelia Collins.

The Landscape Architecture building is home to the staff of the Iowa State Daily. (Katherine Kealey)

These accolades continue to inspire and encourage our staff to create meaningful stories that leave a lasting impression on our community.

There are those who may believe that the press is full of deception and is nothing more than an attempt to grab views, but we are different. The Iowa State Daily is dedicated to providing the truth to our viewers.  

Every day we will strive to expand our coverage to represent the public we serve. We are fortunate to be our own professional, independent news source, and it is our privilege to be serving our campus and community.

Editor’s Note: Below, the editorial board shared their personal opinions about the reach and influence that our student news organization has thanks to a free press, and their appreciation of the publication. 

The Iowa State Daily has made a great impact on our university and the community that surrounds us. The voices we are able to give to those who have been silent, and the stories we are able to create are all thanks to the privileges we enjoy from having a free press. 

Today, we celebrate our ability to publish essential information for the public, and I am proud to be a journalist. In a world where we may not have the best reputation, I strive to make every day a little better through my writing. 

Being a member of the Iowa State Daily has been nothing short of amazing. The passion that I and others here share for reporting on the truth – and even unveiling it – is truly inspiring. It is my hope that this publication continues to bloom into a newspaper that reaches far beyond our state. 

Without student journalism, and our publication, our community would not be nearly as well-informed as it is today. 

I am grateful for the Iowa State Daily and its never-ending desire to seek truth in a society where truth is rarely black and white. 

— Maximillian Lisowski, opinion editor

Freedom of the press has not only provided me a platform to shine a light on issues taking place on campus but also allows the Ames community to read about these issues.

If it were not for freedom of the press, there would be a lot of things taking place behind closed doors that could cause community problems.

— Andrew Harrington, sports editor

Working for the Iowa State Daily has shown me just how lucky we are to have freedom of the press. No matter what desk one works for at the Daily, being able to have the opportunity to write and publish what you want is a great feeling. 

Additionally, the friendships and connections I have made through the Iowa State Daily have been amazing. Working on the sports desk, I have gotten the opportunity to interview some great people and have visited places I never thought I’d go to. I truly have become a better writer and journalist through the Daily. 

— Hailey Dohnal, assistant sports editor

People underestimate the impact student journalism has on the world around us. Most of the time, we’re seen as a couple of annoying college kids that ask too many questions. And to be honest, that’s true. At the same time, we’re also the ones who come back with answers. 

As student journalists, our main priority is to find an explanation of how something works and why. I want to know the impact Iowa State has on its students and vice versa. I want to learn about the different backgrounds at Iowa State and to be able to share and uplift this information. 

I, as a student journalist, am so proud to help inform and showcase life on this campus. I am so grateful to have a community that holds so much trust in myself and the Daily. It’s humbling to be able to sit and listen to each person’s experience and connect them with others who share it. 

And I get to do this. I get to be that trusted voice for people and find the answers to their questions. And if there are questions that still need to be answered, I am grateful to have my community let me know. 

Without student journalism, you wouldn’t have this connection. You’d still have your questions — but I can let you know that most of them will stay unanswered. 

So yes, we are the ones who ask a lot of questions, but we’re also the ones who can get you some answers. 

— Amber Mohmand, managing editor

Student media is an essential piece of the Iowa State experience for journalism students. The Iowa State Daily is a place for journalists to learn and grow professionally, but we are also a hub for people across campus to explore their passions and interests. Beyond that, we provide an absolutely irreplaceable service to the Iowa State community.

Without the Iowa State Daily, there would be an immeasurable hole both in our community and in the lives of students. Whether you read the Daily every day or not, we are here to keep a finger on the pulse of Iowa State.

— Molly Blanco, managing editor

Working for the Daily has presented me with so many more opportunities to grow and learn than just my classes have. Getting a sense of what real life journalism is essential for students to see. 

Daily reporters grow and improve through the help and guidance of their peers. Along with the educational opportunities, the Daily introduces reporters to the freedom of the press in action. 

We are able to write about important campus issues and give students a view of some things that they may not be aware of. I believe that the university benefits from the Daily, as they get real student input on what is important to them. 

— Mackenzie Bodell, senior reporter

On more than one occasion, I’ve had friends and family question how much time I dedicate to the Daily. It’s a demanding job that doesn’t even cover the rent, let alone the tuition fees that lurk over my bank account every semester. 

It’s easy to think about the number of shows I could finally take off my watch list or the amount of sleep I could finally catch up on if I stepped away from my reporter’s notebook. But these thoughts are never even the slightest bit enticing. Well…maybe a little bit. 

But reporting for the Daily is way too rewarding to ever consider replacing. The best parts of my days involve scurrying from building to building to sit down with people in the community to listen to the stories and experiences they have to share. 

Journalism is a powerful tool that can impact people’s day-to-day lives and change the way they perceive the world, and it continues to challenge and change the way I interact with those around me. More than anything, the opportunity to write for an independent student press has been eye-opening in the best ways possible, and it has taught me a lot about the importance of total accuracy, empathy and just the right amount of nosy curiosity.

— Katelyn Squiers, student life editor

In my first year at Iowa State, I worked as a photojournalist for the Daily. For two semesters, I covered anything and everything, which allowed me to gain the skill of telling stories through photographic techniques. 

I am now the Visual Editor and have begun writing while also experimenting with photo-centered stories. The Daily is an amazing organization for students to hone their written, oral and visual communication skills. Without the Daily, I have no idea where I would be or what I’d be pursuing in life. 

— Jacob Rice, visual editor 

Student journalism has given me a chance to not only share things I am passionate about but also a chance to share other people’s stories. 

As the lifestyle editor, I am able to bring attention to local events and businesses, cover a large variety of topics and still have room for some creativity in my writing. Freedom of the press is the best way to spread information and stories to the community, and a college campus deserves that just as much as any community. 

Student press is a way of connecting a college community, and getting information for students from students.

Writing and reporting have been my biggest passions since before I came to Iowa State. In times when I feel lost or overwhelmed, working for the Daily has been a source of familiarity and comfort. It makes sense to me when nothing else does. Without the Daily, I would not have learned what it takes to be a part of a newsroom, oversee a desk and write about things I want to write about. 

The experience I have earned just from two years of writing for this publication has prepared me more for a future in journalism than any class I’ve taken. 

— Nicole Hasek, lifestyle editor

I believe student-run publications and the freedom of the press they depend on are very important aspects of the university dynamic. During my three and a half semesters as editor of the academics news desk, it has become plenty apparent that the university puts a lot of effort into maintaining a certain public image.

While most of the time, I believe the image projected by Iowa State’s administration is an adequate reflection of the reality of the college experience, there is a desire to paint everything in a positive light. Most notably, the effort to rebrand the downsizing of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as a “reimagining.”

My main goal at the Daily has only been to see through the brand cultivated by the university and to communicate an accurate picture of how the institution operates. Whether or not I’ve succeeded in that, I’m not sure, but I do believe it’s an important task, and I’ve seen a lot of personal growth through my efforts.

— Jack McClellan, academics editor

Without freedom of the press, there would be a lack of transparency, corruption and limited access to information. I believe it is important to protect and support news outlets, as they play a vital role in informing and empowering the community.

The Daily has helped me, and continues to help me, learn how powerful freedom of the press is. Through engaging with the Daily as a student, I can confidently say I am prepared to immerse myself in the professional world following graduation through my through engagement with the freedom of the press. 

— Biong Biong, politics editor

While I may not write any articles for the Daily, I read and edit a good majority of them, and I see in each and every story just how important this work is. The things I have learned about my community through the Daily’s work are invaluable, and it wouldn’t be possible without the freedom of the press.

I applaud my peers for the hard work they do each day to bring the Iowa State community the information it deserves, and I’m grateful to say that I play a part in producing this highest-quality content for the ones who make this work worth it—the readers of Iowa State University.

The job of an editor at the Iowa State Daily begins when they wake up and ends when they go to bed. No day is ever the same, especially when they have to drop everything they are doing for breaking news.

— Tessa Hill, copy chief 

An average day may consist of checking in on reporters about deadlines or interviewing a source for an article due later that day. The nights are long. Rarely off the clock before 10:30 p.m., our editors spend their evenings editing, writing and still reporting so you can wake up to the local news right to your email.

In addition to balancing the life of a student, they are devoted to seeking out the truth. Even with the hollow support or the stonewalling, this group of students is committed to finding answers.

The Iowa State Daily staff views their job as a privilege because they care about what they do. The majority of the time, reporters’ and editors’ work goes unnoticed and unappreciated. I am thankful to work with people who are passionate about individuals’ lives and the betterment of our community. 

Katherine Kealey, editor-in-chief