Student media tackles the tough conversations
Last Friday, The Colonnade released an online story covering the recent passing of GC student Cho Rok “Alice” Chung, which some have considered too personal to print. Although journalists abide by a code of ethics, they frequently get a bad wrap for reporting on sensitive issues. Suicide is a very personal act and the intimacy of it should be considered when covering it; however, there is also a greater good to printing such a personal story.
When a loved one commits suicide, the people close to them in their life often feel helpless. It is necessary to have conversations about instances such as this – but it’s not easy. Most of us would rather talk about trivial things like the VMAs or what’s on the menu at The Max. It is part of a media outlet’s job to become a voice for the voiceless. The Colonnade serves as a forum to facilitate these discussions.
Every student experiences extreme stress during his or her college career. With all of the worries of school work, social life, and all the aspects that come with transitioning into adulthood, it’s only natural that we will all experience down time. Unfortunately, our levels of stress are setting new records. According to “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2010,” the percentage of students who said their emotional health was above average was only 52 percent, falling from 64 percent in 1985. With numbers as staggering as these, it’s no surprise we’re hearing more about young people taking their own lives.
Although the many trials and tribulations experienced throughout college serve as opportunity for young adults to discover what they are made of and to find one’s strengths, some buckle under the weight of the world. Rigorous academics, relationships and the uncertainty of the future all play a role.
Suicide isn’t pretty. There is no way to circumvent its ugly, painful connotation or beat around the bush when reporting on such a topic. However, the painful conversations about suicide are a gateway to providing the public with invaluable information and resources that could save lives.
It’s easy to say, “It gets better.” It’s easy to shy away from reporting the hard, cold facts. But The Colonnade stands firm on the basic tenet of journalism: seek truth and report it. We sincerely hope that last week’s reporting and this week’s memoir piece give voice to the voiceless.
As our community mourns the loss of a student, The Colonnade extends its deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Cho Rok “Alice” Chung.