Young Journalists Learn Consequences of Field

Journalism Trumps Politics

Maddy Benda, Editor-in-Chief

     Students traveled to the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, Mo., for the 48th Annual Scholastic Journalism Day on March 29.  Students arrived and entered Jesse Hall where they started their day by listening to the keynote speaker, John Beaudoin. 

     Beaudoin talked to students about the choice journalists make between journalism and politics. Students from high schools from all across Missouri learned about what it takes to be a professional journalist, along with his mistakes as a journalist.

     “What you do for journalism has to trump everything else in the field,” said Beaudoin. 

     Beaudoin told students his story of how a political decision almost cost him his job.  While working for the Independence Examiner in Independence, Mo., he was covering the 1996 Dole v. Clinton campaign.  Bob Dole visited Independence three days before the election in efforts to gain the votes of Missouri voters.  Dole stood at the foot of a statue of Harry Truman, who was a beloved role model in Independence, because he was the 33rd U.S. president and was from Independence. 

     Beaudoin said he made the mistake of actively protesting Dole’s event. He was then in trouble by his editor at the Independence Examiner for sharing his political beliefs because he then was deemed uncredible as a journalist. 

     His story gave students a better understanding of just how important it is to set aside your opinions in order to do good journalistic work.

     “I didn’t realize how important it was to keep your opinions and journalism separated which will help me as a journalistic writer,” said editor of Legacy yearbook, junior Caroline Bonacorso. 

     Beaudoin said his editor told him to choose between journalism and politics because he couldn’t have both.       Students were left with a better understanding of what it’s really like in the field of journalism.

     “I thought he was very well spoken and had a lot of important things to say, especially that you need to keep your politics out of journalism,” said Legacy staff member sophomore Clare Cunningham. 

     After the presentation by Beaudoin, students went to classes on campus and ended their day with an awards ceremony.  Principal Clark Mershon was also awarded Administrator of the Year at the awards ceremony.