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The Indy Celebrates 100

The Indy Celebrates 100

By The Independent News Organization

Thursday, March 28, 2019 | Number of views (624)

As Fort Lewis College’s only student-run news organization, the Indy feels a responsibility to the campus to serve the students. From the first issue up until the 100th, staff members dedicate their free time to providing timely, accurate, and relevant news to the campus community. To celebrate the release of this special issue, we interviewed a multitude of people, including former staff members, professors, and students about the impact the Indy has had on the campus community. Here are some of their responses.

Davis Deussen, former reporter for the Independent. Deussen currently has a video production internship with Rocky Mountain PBS

“It gives voice to the students themselves.”

“We don’t work for the school. So the school doesn’t have a lot of say what we do so that gives you a lot of real world experience of legitimate newsrooms.” 

“It’s student-driven and they tell the stories they want in the ways they want to cover them.” 

“We can expose things in Fort Lewis that wouldn’t normally get exposed.” 

“We actually got to go out and do real reporting or real videography, or if you’re in graphic design, real design.”

“It gives you the portfolio, so it actually lets you do it. But it also lets you do it in a real world environment and they didn’t treat you like kids. You’re an 18-year-old freshmen, but you can still cover the biggest story there is.” 

“I just want our students to embrace our student newspaper cause they might find something out that they had no clue was going on.” 

“The variety has always been a good change cause there’s something in there for everyone.” 

“I really like The Indy,and it helped prepare me for my future career.”

Michael Martin, a history professor at Fort Lewis College who currently serves as faculty senate president

I don’t want people to when they graduate say, “I’m just a history major”, I want them to say “I’m a historian!” You know hopefully you’ll leave and say, “I’m a journalist! I’ve experienced it.”

“College I think affords you those opportunities to do as many pieces of that job, because when you get out in the working world sometimes you get stuck in a particular position for a while, where as you get a lot more opportunities in college to get that professional training.”

“If there’s something that I see in the Indy I might bring it up in class and be like, “Hey did you see this article? What do you think about that?”

“It’d be nice there could be that button that I could see like on the front page somewhere that I could then go into.”

Chance Salway, current FLC student body president

“Having the Indy around and having a student-led newspaper, is extremely beneficial for students that are wanting to pursue careers in those fields.” 

“There’s a lot of issues that reporters from the Indy and students will hear about as far as campus that local media may not pick up on as fast.”

“There’s been many cases in which the Indy has been able to release articles and reports on issues before local media grabs it.” 

“It’s an entertaining yet very informational and informative piece of work that really helps the students and the campus community be able to to come together.” 

“The Indy is able to actually bring everybody, not only students, but the whole campus together and thats something that’s very unique that the Indy has going for it.” 

“The Indy is able to bring a tremendous amount of information and has the ability to impact a lot of people which is really great to be able to have on campus.”

“What’s really cool about it, is that it’s students talking to students.” 

“The students that are reporters for the indy actually have a real investment in the institution and the campus community, whereas local media outlets may not have that direct 

connection with the campus for example.”

Tom Stritikus, President of Fort Lewis College

“The Indy has such an important part of our campus. I really value student voice and student perspective and the Indy provides a direct access into issues that students are thinking about issues that are important to students and a perspective that as administrators, really valuable to understand.”

“The questions that you ask are the questions that are on students' minds the questions for which students want answers. And so that ability to ask questions and to seek information that's important to all of our students, is really good.”

“In so many ways, The Indy is part of the story telling apparatus of FLC and,carry part of the narrative for, the campus as a whole.”

Faron Scott, current content advisor for the Indy

“It's the voice of the students and a good student news organization covers stories that are important for students to know about and also that entertain them and give them ideas to access to ideas. Kind of a marketplace of ideas. It also prepares students to enter the workforce as journalists and be watchdogs on the powerful and storytellers for people to help understand the world around them better and more richly.”

“I can't imagine Fort Lewis college without The Independent.How would students get information? How would students understand campus life and see what's going on and engage with their peers? I mean it's just it's just such a nice addition to campus life I think and it provides a valuable service in keeping students aware of what's going on on campus. Plus it's a great opportunity for students to be involved.”

“The Indy has brought me in contact with you know dozens and dozens and dozens of student journalists. And it’s wonderful to watch them develop as journalists take leadership positions to work with them really closely and then you know watch them graduate and go into the big world.”

“Each incoming editor in chief has their own ideas for how to move the Indy forward. And it's really an insightful and enjoyable to watch them embody their vision.”

“That students who have worked on the Indy all these years and have just been an inspiration. And it's just really one of the things I enjoy most about my job.”

Katie Chicklinski-Cahill, the arts and entertainment editor at The Durango Herald. Chicklinski-Cahill served as the editor in chief of the Indy in 2000.

“I’ve seen it get really slick, which is cool! It used to be more of a newspaper, with no magazines or online presence.” 

“It’s so cool to see it still going, and to see that people are still interested in journalism.”

“The Independent was so much fun, and it really prepares students to work in journalism professionally.”

Lauren Savage, FLC media relations coordinator

“I think it is absolutely necessary to get the Indy on your resume to be able to step into that world with that experience and become comfortable already interviewing and writing stories and meeting deadlines.”

“I keep track of what stories they publish as well because students, with their peers, find stories that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about.”

“It’s given me a good perspective on what matters most to students.”

Michael Dichio, a political science professor at Fort Lewis College

“I think student journalism and journalism in general is important to making a community and society a better place.”

“As a professor I just think it so crucially important in a democratic republic to cultivate in students this critical perspective and I think the group that takes that to heart the most are student journalists, in trying to investigate and understand our small community up at the Fort. I think it’s very important.”

"There are a lot of public interest stories that students at the Indy have come to me to learn about and then what I see the Indy do is disseminate that knowledge and sort of educate 

folks. That’s been my window into the Indy and what it provides the campus community.”

“I just remember reading the Indy article on some of the crisis in enrollment and the financial issues that we were facing, and that we’re still facing but you know it’s less dire I think today. It just seemed like the Indy had done their homework and had done a nice job breaking down a really complex issue for our students.”

“If I have any suggestions or perspective it would be to see more of it. To see more of it more frequently.”

Nick Gonzalez, the food and business editor at The Durango Herald. Gonzalez served as editor in chief of the Indy from 2007-2008. 

“You’re the next generation, go get em’!”

Lindsay Nyquist, the director of marketing and communications at FLC

“What I love about the Indy is that it is authentic. It’s not anyone trying to sugar coat what the college is. It’s the students really representing the issues that they are invested in and that are important to them, and I think it’s really interesting for all faculty and staff and other students to see that this is really what has captured the minds of the students.”

“I know students that have just gotten really valuable experience from working with the Indy, so I think the hands on experiences that students get as journalists they can take out into the field can be really powerful.”

“I just like to see that the students are creating something of their own and putting out what is important to them.”

Larry Hartfield, who served as ethical advisor of the Independent from 1986 to 2000

“Student journalism is absolutely crucial in the same way it’s crucial to any functioning democracy.”

“Students need students to be informed about what’s happening on campus.”

“I think student journalists are constantly faced with ethical issues. They have to make decisions, they have to consult, they have to work as a group together, but they also will have to develop research skills that allow them to discover important issues, and develop them.”

“The biggest thing is just information. We can’t make good decisions unless we have good information, and student journalism is what provides the student body with good information. Even though it may piss off people.”

“It helps students know about resources that are available to them and it helps students connect to the large Durango community.”

“One of the big changes I’ve noticed over the last six or seven years, is that when it was a weekly newspaper that came out on Fridays, it focused pretty exclusively on campus issues. Now it reaches out much more to the larger community and I think that helps students know what’s happening and going on.”

“The Indy does a good job of looking at the student impact of these large issues, that the students wouldn’t know about if it weren’t for student journalism.”

“There were several instances where freedom of press was threatened and either the administration or student government would try to get stories killed for one reason or another.  It really forced me to think deeply about the role of journalism, and to see if I had the courage to step up to some of these people. And it wasn’t me so much, I was the advisor. It was the students were the ones who had to stand up to them but did I have the courage to support them? And I was amazed at how courageous these students could be.”

“I worked with just absolutely stunning people. I think the deepest thing is personal relationships. It doesn’t have a lot to do with journalism but its really a way that we connected and formed a community.”

“I’m still in close contact with people i worked with 30 years ago.”

“The stories that I remember are the ones that students forced students to clarify their own thinking about issues.”

“One of the things about the Indy now is that there’s much more room for creativity and I like seeing that. They are starting to branch out more than from the traditional straight journalism but that’s what you need to be trained for. I mean journalism is changing. It doesn’t work the same way it used to.

“I think about my time with the Indy a lot. It was a really fascinating time and a really it was an interesting period for me.”

“It’s a way to get to know students in a way that you don’t in a classroom.”

“When I was first working with the Indy we were still printing out stories and cutting and pasting them onto layout boards and taking them to a printer, and having them printed.”

Shandiin Ramsey, a former reporter for the Indy

“I think it’s obviously important for the student journalists themselves to get that experience, kind of like real world experience of a journalist. You can read about how to be a journalist and how to interview people and stuff, but there’s nothing like actually sitting down and interviewing somebody and having those conversations so I think it’s important on that part of it to get that experience.”

“I think that The Indy covers lots of stories that The Durango Heralddoesn’t have time to cover, or sometimes The Indy gets the story first, which is super cool.”

“It’s a good addition to not only the Fort Lewis community but the Durango community. It informs people about stuff that’s going on on-campus, especially with all the stuff in the last few years about change, like the President and all that stuff and how Fort Lewis is kind of trying to re-brand. I think that The Indy is super important, especially in this point in time with all the changes happening. It helps people keep on top of everything.”

“I have to talk to people a lot for my job and carry on conversations and I think having that experience of The Indy, having to interview people, it helped me with my communication skills. It helped me kind of learn how to read people and be able to carry on conversations that might not be going exactly the way I was planning them to go.”

Michelle Malach, FLC English faculty chair

“We’re in a moment where journalism is in great upheaval and transition right now with the move to online. Our particular political moment is just screaming for journalists to get out there and do their job of keeping an eye on those in power and reporting the truth. We’re kind of in this era of fake news or people being concerned about whether news is real or not despite the fact. It’s kind of interesting because journalism has kind of been, in some ways, dropping off as a profession for a while because of all the business changes and technological changes that were going on, but one of the things that we’re seeing nation-wide is students going into journalism programs because it’s become evident in the last couple years of how important it is to have students who get the word out about what’s going on.”

“I think a lot of students don’t necessarily pay a lot of attention to student media.”

“I think that The Independent has done a really good job of adapting to those technological changes in the media.”

“I’d like to see more traffic being driven to the online version. I’d like to see greater integration of the video and print.”

Rebecca Clausen, the FLC sociology chair

“You can just tell it’s not coming from the top down, it’s coming from the voices of students.”

I’ve just been impressed with the design, layout, photos, it really has a neat, appealing, not just the content, but there’s a great visual appeal to it. 

I feel like it’s a great way to get students to connect outside of their major, start seeing the shared common concerns or shared things that they maybe want to see more of or see changed and so, a lot of the times we build community within the major, within English, or sociology, or engineering, biology, but I think student journalism allows the community to feel more of like their shared common ground and shared concern. It’s just a different way of building community.”

Luke Perkins, former editor in chief of the Independent

“The Independentteaches a lot of managerial experience, that you wouldn’t necessarily get at that age.”

“Learning how to build people up and teach them things in a way that empowers them to do their best as opposed to undermining them was very powerful.”

“I always think about the people in college that I was the closest with. It was the people that were at the Indy with me.”

“When I first got to the Indy, they were super excited because they just got full-fledged color...my first print story, one page was in color and one was in black and white.”

“There’s a lot of effort that goes into the Indy, and it would always hurt when I would go into a classroom and there’s people that had no idea what the Indy was.”




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