The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Column | A thank you to student journalists

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Nate Yonamine | Assistant Visual Editor
Betül Tuncer, editor-in-chief.

Today is my last official day as editor-in-chief of The Pitt News. Just like that, the four years I’ve spent at this newspaper and in college have come to an end. While I was originally going to use this senior column to just recount my time at The Pitt News, I feel as though there’s a few things I must say first. 

This past week while my fellow graduates and I have run around trying to finalize essays, take grad photos and prepare for commencement, our campus, like many others across the country, has been in a state of protest.

For the past five days, a group of students at Pitt, joined by community supporters, have set up an encampment protest in Schenley Plaza. Similar protests have sparked at other college campuses in the U.S., most notably Columbia University, NYU and Yale where students have faced arrest. In protesting, they demand that their universities divest from institutions tied to the violence in Gaza and call for an end to that same violence which has gone on for over 200 days. 

These protests have brought a wave of international media attention to American college students. Some outlets are focusing on the brutality inflicted on students by police. Others are questioning why students are protesting instead of studying for finals. 

The most on the ground reporting though has come from student journalists. Right now, student journalists across the country are working twice as hard to not only report on the protests and student demands, but also to hold their colleges and law enforcement accountable. 

They did so before this week. And they will continue to do so, even when the national cameras turn elsewhere. 

Throughout our history we have seen students and the youth at the forefront of many social movements, trying to enact change. Student journalists are part of that change, working to make the media industry more diverse and minimize media bias. 

While many have looked at the youth with distaste for their will to disturb systems, I’ve heard many others also say things along the lines of “the youth will save us.” 

Sure, the youth with their votes, advocacy and their media will work to improve society. But what about those who sit on government bodies, vote behind closed doors and run the institutions? 

The youth that votes and protests today is the same youth that had to sit through school shooting drills in elementary school, while politicians continued to ignore the root of the problem. 

They’re the same youth that protested in 2020 against racial injustice, while politicians made empty promises to secure their vote. 

When I got to Pitt in 2020, student activists were working to improve the school’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Since then I’ve seen Pitt students protest sexual assaults on campus, a rise in anti-Asian violence, the University’s fossil fuel investments, unethical labor practices, a lack of emergency communication after a hoax shooting incident, “anti-trans” speakers on campus and most recently the war in Gaza.  

Each year, I viewed these protests and political action by students through the lens of a student journalist and editor. I’d compare the way The Pitt News and other student papers covered these issues to the way traditional news outlets covered them. 

I’m inspired to see the care in which student journalists cover their campus communities, making sure to include nuanced perspectives in their reporting regardless of the issue. 

As a Turkish Muslim woman myself, I grew up watching news outlets perpetuate harmful narratives about minorities — whether intentional or subconscious. So seeing a wave of student journalists in this country cover even high profile geopolitical issues with immense skill and care is truly motivational. 

I’ve seen student journalists, both in my own newsroom and others, spend hours debating everything left in or out of an article down to the individual language they should use to avoid potential bias and misinformation. I’ve seen photojournalists attend campus protests, unafraid to get close to action and disputes for the sake of documenting the events that took place. 

My graduating class is one that didn’t get a high school graduation due to a global pandemic. Our high school years were spent worrying about the state of American politics, while our college years were spent worrying about the state of the world. Our generation is one that was forced to grow up far too quickly. 

Tomorrow, when I walk across the commencement stage in my regalia, I’ll be thinking about all of this and more. 

Additionally, I will be thinking about how thankful I am to The Pitt News — for giving me the space to grow as a journalist, at a school without a journalism program, for introducing me to the amazing people who I will remember for many years to come, and for allowing me to become a newsroom leader in a saturated media industry. 

Thank you to our dedicated staff of writers, photographers and illustrators, as well as our editors for their commitment to student journalism. Getting to meet and work with every one of them has been an incredible honor. Spending hours in the office on production nights, while draining at times, was an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. I especially want to thank my managing editor Pamela Smith for sticking by my side this year and former editor-in-chief Rebecca Johnson for hiring me three times and guiding me through the years. I wish I could list every other person that I’ve come to appreciate at The Pitt News, but that would be too long of a list.  

I will forever be thankful to this community of student journalists. I know they will continue to cover campus issues and student protests with professional care, and will all go on to become outstanding individuals in their respective careers.  

Signing off,

Betül Tuncer, Editor-in-Chief

About the Contributor
Betul Tuncer, Editor-in-Chief
Betul Tuncer is the Editor-in-Chief of The Pitt News. She is a part of the College of General Studies' class of 2024 and is double majoring in media and professional communications on the writing track and legal studies, she is also pursuing a certificate in digital media and a minor in museum studies. During her three years at the paper she has worked as a news staff writer, assistant news editor, summer editor-in-chief and managing editor. You can contact her at [email protected]