Student newspaper continues tradition of investigative reporting

Student newspaper continues tradition of investigative reporting

I magine a time before social media and modern-day cellphones were available and the only places where you could get the 'news of the day' was the paper or radio. This need to communicate helped inspire Georgia College's student run newspaper, The Colonnade.

The idea for a student newspaper at Georgia State College for Women started in 1923 when the Y.W.C.A published Triangled Thoughts, a bi-monthly newspaper that was given to the students. During the spring of 1925, a formal newspaper was established. Issues would be published twice a month and students were charged a fifty cent subscription fee. Due to the columns and the characteristics of the campus, the newspaper was named, 'The Colonnade.'

It was a place for women on campus to get their ideas out, get their voice out. At the time, from what I've seen in the archives, there was a lot of school spirit and since there were so many rules about women leaving campus, it was a way for the women to talk about what was going on.
– Amy Lynn McDonald, former editor in chief of The Colonnade

The idea stuck and since then, The Colonnade has reported on many events throughout the years. It even has had Flannery O'Connor serve as Editor in Chief.  No matter what though, the purpose of the paper has always been to inform students.

Amy Lynn McDonald is a recent graduate with a Bachelor in Mass Communication and is the former Editor in Chief of The Colonnade
Amy Lynn McDonald is a recent graduate with a Bachelor in Mass Communication and is the former Editor in Chief of The Colonnade

"The purpose of The Colonnade, in today's terms, is to bring awareness to our students of what's going on around campus. And also, since it's our job as journalists to seek out the truth in matters, it's our job to tell students what's really going on, to dig into things to look into things, to show them that, you know, life's not always pretty. But the more you know about things, the more you can make a difference in your community."

Currently, The Colonnade has three sections; news, sports, and arts & life which covers a variety of subjects from Homecoming and Deep Roots to health issues to politics. Each issue takes multiple people and hours to put together.

"We have a paid staff and unpaid staff, unfortunately, just because of our budgetary constraints. Our paid staff include, editors and photographers, an ad sales manager and public relations. Under the editor in chief, there is an art director, managing editor, and then three desks for each of the sections each with their own head editor and assistant editor. Typically six to eight people will come up with story ideas and edit 15 articles for an 8 page paper."

Sophomore Mass Communication major, Eric Boyd, uses the white board to layout a story for a future issue
Sophomore Mass Communication major, Eric Boyd, uses the white board to layout a story for a future issue
One of the things that is a challenge for the staff is staying true to journalistic roots in the rise of fake news and polarizing media.

"One thing that's been really unique about working for The Colonnade the past three years is the rise of fake news and how it is affecting our media. So being young journalists in that environment and looking at our field, either dying in small towns or being under attack at times, can be very daunting."

While journalism may have had a past of being a male-dominated career field, The Colonnade has always been an innovative newspaper, providing an outlet for women to pursue their passion.

"One thing that was really heartening to me is that since it was a women's college, all the editors in chief were women. To know that I'm leading an organization that has such a strong history of women leading, there's so few places where that's true. It's really cool that I can genuinely be myself."