As the semester comes down to just a few days left, I have approached my fourth and final blog portfolio for SEL 160: news writing. My last portfolio is a bit out of the ordinary in comparison to my most previous blog posts. For the final portfolio, I have reflected upon my experiences during my first semester at Seton Hill University as editor in chief of the Setonian Student Magazine.

My journey as editor in chief started in June of 2019. Since then, I have published four issues following the June issue. The issues themselves started off a little “rocky” but as I have taken the advice of superiors and Dr. Jerz, I feel each issue continues to build upon the last in quality.
During this time, journalistic ethics have played a major role in the way I handle the Setonian and my staff. Throughout the fall semester there has been a frequent theme I continue to revisit: quality and accuracy and the role it plays in the relationship between the public and journalists.

Reflecting back on my semester, I have come to the face the challenge of the public’s view on the student newspaper. For the first issue of the semester [September 2019 issue], I had published a few errors that were largely noticeable. Mistakes such as misspellings of a name, duplicate paragraphs, and misspellings of organizations.

For this came about myself to think more about accuracy. As any student run publication would want, my hopes are that the Seton Hill community cares about the work the Setonian does. If a publication can’t get a name right, then verification is questioned by the public’s eye. This is similar to a quote by William Tecumseh Sherman.

“I think I know what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers.”

From the public perspective I can see how crucial accuracy can be. An organization may have a serious event that is covered and the name of the club or persons involved could be spelled wrong and that may seem as if it takes away from what the actual news is about. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that mistakes are going to happen.

Regardless of being a student journalist or working as a professional for the New York Times. Pros and rookies alike make mistakes. Owning up to those mistakes and working to provide a higher quality newspaper is the where the journalistic ethics come into play. Corrections may need to be made but I think that is where the relationship between the public and journalists lies.

Journalist work to inform the public. The public can do one of two things with the information. They can either take it as it is or stick to their own beliefs. Journalist will not always produce what the public wants to hear. One thing for certain is that high quality journalism is about verifying your facts and sticking true to your sources, it is then up to the public to take in the information. Misspellings are only a small part of the news report, therefore journalists owe it to the public to keep as much accuracy as possible and the public owes it to journalists to take the news how it is presented.