Interview by Alexis Mason, Outreach and Operations Manager at the Student Press Law Center.
Student journalists should be at the center of every conversation about student press freedom. That’s why SPLC is bringing you a series of Q&As from active student journalists to talk about their accomplishments, the challenges they face, and to give their perspective on press freedom.
Check out past Q&As here.
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Nakylah Carter is the Arts and Entertainment Editor of The A&T Register. She is studying Journalism and Mass Communications at North Carolina A&T State University and expects to graduate in 2022.
AM: Why is student journalism important?
NC: Student journalism is important because it is a vital part of our community. We keep students informed, and give them a platform to tell their stories. As a student journalist, we have a great opportunity to tell the stories that no one else is talking about, as well as create connections between students.
AM: An important part of being a student journalist is telling the stories of your community and telling your stories. What stories are you telling, or want to tell?
NC: My primary focus is to report on marginalized groups in a way that is not so negative, but more uplifting. Like reporting on the food deserts in East Greensboro. I am on that side of Greensboro, where A&T is located, and there are no healthy food options. There are almost no grocery stores in this area and the food pantry is only open on Thursdays. Another thing I want to prioritize this upcoming year is Greensboro’s homeless population. I want to report on ways to help them and bring awareness to their situation. Also, this year, we have reported on the recurring problem of overpopulation and the housing crisis. There are students whose dorm rooms have flooded, or their heating and air don’t work. There are also students who don’t have anywhere to stay; we have seniors living in hotels. These are serious problems that we want to talk about.
AM: Have you experienced censorship or other challenges that are related to the First Amendment or media law?
NC: Personally, I have not. I think the newspaper really promotes freedom when it comes to writing about stuff. Our adviser encourages us to do our job, hold administrators accountable and be professional. Our professors promote real world journalism and encourage us to be authentic journalists. For instance, we have a crisis on our campus right now. For the past two weeks, we have had no Wi Fi and our servers have been down. It seems we were hacked by a third party over spring break, and the university has met with the FBI and the police. That’s all the university is disclosing right now, and the local news stations have not covered the story. So there are a lot of questions right now, and it is our job to get answers. Tomorrow [Mar. 23rd] we are meeting with Todd Simmons, Vice Chancellor of University Relations tomorrow for a one-on-one interview.
AM: What is something that you’ve learned as a student journalist that could be helpful to other students?
NC: Always go the extra mile. Journalism is one of those industries and fields where you cannot just go to school, do the assignments, graduate and get a job. You have to really grind and do the work. I also learned that you have to advocate for yourself, and go after what you want. And write stories that you are passionate about, because that is where you will shine.
AM: Every generation leaves their mark on journalism. What do you think will be your generation’s impact/contribution?
NC: My generation thrives on social media. Most young people aren’t turning on the tv and watching an hour of news. Instead, they are getting their news from social media. So this generation is meeting our audience where they are and using social media to deliver news.
Please check out more from Nakylah and The A&T Register staff here.