Waynesburg University’s official Twitter account recently posted a vintage photograph of The Yellow Jacket staff circa 1968. Students were smiling, gathered around a typewriter, of all things.
As a present-day Yellow Jacket staff member, this was a delightful image to see: a group of student journalists, bonding over something they all love.
In a lot of ways, nothing has changed. The same camaraderie in the 1968 photo exists with our staff today, which is why we decided to recreate the photo in our now-updated, modern office. These two photos [to the right] are the perfect depiction of all the ways journalism remains consistent, but also all of the ways our field has evolved.
The obvious changes are technological: we do not produce The Yellow Jacket with a typewriter anymore. But journalism has also experienced plenty of advancements that make our finished content better. We have recording devices for accuracy, the Adobe Suite for efficient and clean design (check out our updated redesign), and the internet for fast, daily news delivery. Journalists are able to connect with audiences more than ever before through the use of social media, allowing us to produce the content that matters most to readers.
The new technology has presented some new challenges for our field. The internet has granted freedom to the audience to become the producer; blogs and spoof websites are mistaken for news all the time. Fake news is now a genuine concern, as people struggle to decipher which sources are reliable and which are not.
The culture surrounding journalism has changed a lot, too. More than ever before, the very topic of journalism is lousy with a partisan debate. People question our intentions, deny our credibility, attack newsrooms with insults, threats and bullets.
But through all of this, the fundamentals of journalism have not changed. Both groups in both of these photos are dedicated to the same things: truth, accountability and storytelling. We want to reach people, to empathize with them and to tell real stories about the human experience. To make a difference. This is what we’ve dedicated our careers to — our whole lives after college. And it all starts here, at The Yellow Jacket.
It’s been 50 years, and a lot has changed. But these two groups are one and the same.