Columns / Discourse / October 29, 2014

Critics welcome, hold TKS accountable

This week, The Knox Student received a letter criticizing an article I had written, “Siwash sparks debate at Homecoming,” accusing TKS of holding a bias against Mr. and Mrs. Collinson, the alumni couple who hand out Siwash-emblazoned paraphernalia yearly. The letter argued that TKS had unfairly defined the word “Siwash” and had reported the protest unfairly and poorly. The letter was signed anonymously by “A Disgusted Student.”

In the few years I’ve worked for The Knox Student in various capacities, I’ve heard several complaints, written and verbal, surrounding the credibility and integrity of TKS. Some are entire misconceptions (for example, contrary to a belief I’ve encountered, TKS is, completely student-written. We’re not advised by any member of the Knox faculty), and some are entirely valid. Too many people have recently expressed disappointment and anger in TKS’s editorial decisions or the way we’ve presented information to the campus. Regardless of the specific complaint, one sentiment appears consistent: The community’s trust in TKS is wavering.

TKS is nationally-recognized and critically-acclaimed, but that means nothing if we’re not respected on our own campus.

Though I’m not thrilled to receive a letter accusing me of poor reporting, I’m pleased to see feedback, and I wish I heard from readers more often. If you have any frustration, concerns or questions about the way TKS presents information, I genuinely want to know about it. Submit a correction. Write a letter to the editor (by emailing Write to us on Facebook or Twitter. Read our ethics statement online. Or, talk to me directly so I can address qualms about TKS’s editorial decisions and guide the editorial staff toward better serving its community.

TKS has started the year with an entirely new editorial staff, and though we uphold the values and precedent TKS has upheld in the past, what goes in print is now being decided by a completely new group of people. Instead of refusing to communicate with TKS because of something that happened last year or the year before, I encourage you to communicate with us now so we can communicate with you.

As a journalist, my goal is to give voice to Knox students and tell their stories. On behalf of The Knox Student, I aim to provide the campus with an accurate, fair and reliable news source that holds those in power accountable for their actions and their words. I demand that our reputation is consistent with our goals.

Please ask questions or learn about how we make editorial decisions. Learn how to get involved or even write for us. At the very least, get in touch with us and get to know the people who work sometimes over 20 hours a week to make sure there’s a paper for you on Thursday evening. Help us continue to be student-written, student-run and student-read, the way we have been since 1878.


Kate Mishkin
Kate Mishkin is a senior majoring in English literature and minoring in journalism. She started working for TKS as a freshman and subsequently served as managing editor, co-news editor and co-mosaic editor. Kate is the recipient of four awards from the Illinois College Press Association for news and feature stories and one award from the Associated Collegiate Press. She won the Theodore Hazen Kimble Prize in 2015 and 2014 and the Ida M. Tarbell Prize in Investigate Journalism in 2014. She has interned at FILTER Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and WGIL radio and the Virginian-Pilot.

Twitter: @KateMishkin

Tags:  accountability administration journalism Student run tks

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