I used to laugh about my role in journalism.
Not that I didn’t take it seriously. But, as sports editor, I always downplayed my role in the newsroom. When I talked to news writers, I would say, “Well, don’t worry about me. It’s not like I’m a real journalist. I just write sports.”
At the end of the day, sports are simple — you win or you lose. That is about as controversial as it gets, and I was OK with that, because I wasn’t trying to change the world.
I was just trying to tell the stories that I loved.
But there comes a point when you have to care — when the gravity of a situation is so discomfiting that to accept indifference is to be negligent.
And last Wednesday, there was no doubt in my mind that such a moment had come — when I saw my Editor in Chief, Polina Marinova, crying over a memo that stole editorial control of The Red & Black from students.
I had cared before, but this was something different.
This was a call to action, and I joined the others who walked out.
In hours we had hundreds of online followers; in a day, thousands.
And while our followers received flash updates on Twitter and at redanddead.com, what they didn’t see were the sleepless nights and the three hours of rest we sandwiched between frenzied work from Wednesday night to Friday afternoon.
Talk about putting your learning into practice. In the course of a few days, we learned valuable lessons about off-the-record statements, how to use social media as a platform to enact change and how to stay professional despite obvious, emotional connections to an issue.
More importantly, we learned these lessons on the clock, with people nationwide watching and waiting for our response.
Finally, when the dust had settled and Monday passed, we slept. With student editorial control secured, on Tuesday we returned to the offices of the Red & Black.
But, at least for me, there have been changes.
I can’t laugh about my role as a reporter anymore — not after what has occurred here.
I recognize that in a new media world, newspapers are struggling as they learn to adapt. However, the adaptation can never overshadow the importance of remaining true to our journalistic ethics.
To seek the truth and report it. To minimize harm. To act independently. To be accountable.
— Nick Fouriezos is a junior from Cumming majoring in Engish and journalism