The idea of journalism is one founded upon much more than just publication. It encapsulates the core of human interconnectedness and fairness. This semester, I have had the privilege of learning from Dr. Ravi Shankar in the course Creative Writing: Journalism. When registering for this course, I was in search of an arts credit to satisfy a distribution requirement; in the end, I found much more. Just a few weeks into the class, I have developed as a journalist through writing pieces in a variety of styles and perspectives I had not previously explored. This evening, I found myself realizing the power of journalism in dismantling unjust systems through listening to Dr. Shankar’s reflections on some of the impetus behind his newly released novel "Correctional" which cites the racist practices that are inseparable from the punitively based American incarceration system. His work not only highlights the reality of being a person of color in America but also the importance of writing and journalism in pursuing justice for all.
When asked to write a piece for the Daily reflecting on the publication’s history, I found myself continuously thinking back to the founding principles that drove former Tufts students to start the newspaper in 1980. Knowing the importance of investigative journalism and simultaneously aiming to keep biased practices at bay while also bringing to light issues that may not otherwise surface, I commend the Daily’s founders for creating a space for student journalists to probe issues on campus and beyond. Now, over 40 years after its founding, the Daily continues to serve as a place for students to not only deliver breaking news but to share sentiments that bring the community together in the scope of affirming and poking holes in Medford, Somerville and the world beyond.
The Daily’s financial and executive independence from Tufts University provides it with the unique opportunity for students to voice their most honest and genuine perspectives on the topics they find important. From the series of op-eds in 2017 criticizing Anthony Scaramucci’s place on the Fletcher School Board of Advisors and the controversy which followed to the 2018 investigative report on “Dark Money at Tufts,” the Daily continues to uphold the fundamental goals of journalism through the platform it provides for students and the influential conversations it prompts in our community.
As I sit in my Creative Writing: Journalism class weekly, I am thankful for the privilege to study at Tufts University, a place that allows me to not only amplify my voice through mediums like the Daily but also learn to refine my words and stay in tune with my identities and opinions at an educational institution. It is through the practice of journalism that everyone can keep the spirit of democracy alive, from professionals in the field to students like myself. Through these experiences we have the opportunity to exercise freedom of speech, bring our diverse opinions to light and unearth the truth behind the societies we exist in.