Adviser reflects on The Eagle staff’s success

After the The Eagle earned first in overall excellence for the fourth year in a row, journalism Instructor and Adviser of The Eagle, Michael D. Kennedy took the time to reflect on the success of the student staff, and some of the factors that contributed to it.

“The thing that impresses me most is the students’ consistency and, more important, their commitment to excellence,” Kennedy said. “They publish week-in, week-out, 28 weeks a year, without fail. They put their work out there, in print, to be scrutinized and criticized by their readers.

“Then each spring, their work is judged by the very professionals who might eventually hire them. For those professionals to judge their overall work as being the best for four straight years, speaks volumes about their consistent performance, dedication and commitment, not just to their profession, but most important, to their readers. That’s dedication. That’s commitment.”

Kennedy also noted that the department’s rigor and learner-centered teaching practices significantly helps  students reach their potential.

“Something hit me the other day,” he said. “The Eagle and The Big Event are two of the several successful, high-profile programs on campus. Both provide the very high-impact learning experiences students need to be successful after graduation, and both are housed in the department of communication and social sciences.

“Our journalism students organize and oversee The Eagle, and our public relations students organize and oversee The Big Event. The adage ‘Success breeds success,’ comes into play here. To have two successful programs tied to the academic programs of one department, underscores the quality, expertise and commitment of our departmental faculty.”

Kennedy, who became The Eagle adviser in fall 2008, also acknowledged the support the student newspaper receives from CSC’s administration.

“Despite the fact students occasionally publish news that might make administrators, well, let’s say, uncomfortable,” he said, smiling, “The Eagle, nonetheless, has enjoyed unwavering support through two administrations. First from Dr. (Janie) Park, and her academic vice president Dr. (Lois) Veath, and most recently Dr. (Randy) Rhine and his academic vice president Dr. (Charles) Snare.

“I believe both administrative groups recognized, and continue to recognize, the quality of our program and the success it spawns. We gratefully appreciate that, and we look forward to their continued support as we move forward.”

Kennedy also acknowledged the support from what he deemed was the most important audience on campus—the students.

“Ask anyone on The Eagle staff and each will say that his or her main purpose is to serve the students of this campus,” he said. “They are our primary audience, so the staff from The Eagle and strives hard to cover the news, sports and campus events that are meaningful to them.

“We also take seriously the fact that Chadron State’s students provide the funding for our printing each week. Those funds are allocated to us each year through student government, and we appreciate its commitment to ensuring we continue publishing.

“But we also recognize and appreciate that those funds come directly from the pockets of the 3,000-plus students who pay activity fees. So it is all students, and their interests, that we strive hard to serve. Hey, we know we are not perfect, and we know there is always room for improvement. And we do try. But based on our performance, as judged by the professionals in our field, we’re not so bad, either.”

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