A look Underground: Behind the scenes with the creators

Mar 4th, 2009 | By | Category: Campus Group, Campus News, Commentary, Featured Articles

Nathanael Edward Bassett
Contributor

You probably have some questions about the newspaper in your hand (or the website you are reading from).

Like, what is this? What’s the point? Why should I read it?

Well, I’ll try and answer those as best I can if you just give me a few moments.

First of all, this is not the sort of newspaper that you see twelve copies of in your neighbor’s yard back home or in vending machines for a handful of pocket change nobody ever has, but the kind of newspaper that’s free and isn’t about obscure people or strangers who you don’t know or care about.

This is a newspaper made by students at Missouri State for everyone who is a part of MSU. It’s about your fellow students, your teachers, school activities and other happenings that might affect your life as an MSU student.

And the twice-a-month publication is completely independent from the university, meaning it has the freedom to cover controversial topics without the conflicts of interest inherent in official student newspapers.

We are not even an official student organization and we do not receive any funding from the university.

Second, what’s the point?

I had to ask our editor about this. Zach Becker is a graduate student from Great Bend, Kans., working towards his Master’s of Business Administration degree.

He feels that there’s a need for another newspaper on campus, because it is difficult for one news organization to cover all facets of life on a large university.

“The more options people have for their news, the better it is for students,” he said.

Zach’s wife, Jenny, an MBA student from Ellsworth, Kans., is serving as the publisher of the paper, handling most of the business aspects of the publication.

She also has “the final say as wife of the editor,” she remarked half-jokingly.

Jenny shares Zach’s view of providing students more options when it comes to campus coverage.

“I want this paper to appeal to all students on campus,” she said. “I want to get at the essence of what it means to be a student at Missouri State.”

Zach’s goal is to listen to the “heartbeat of campus” and create an open forum that gives students the chance to easily contribute and participate in the MSU community.

He also wants to create a more graphically oriented format to the paper than what is seen in The Standard, with larger photos, more in depth features and more varied content.

So why should you read The Underground?

Because it’s about you!

Zach says this paper isn’t going to be just topical news coverage or a repeat of stories you’ll see in the other paper.

Instead, its focus is telling “the story within the story. What’s really happening on campus.”

And he has experience doing this.

Zach and Jenny previously started a similar independent student newspaper called The Edge at their undergraduate college, Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kans. During that time, The Edge won many awards from the Kansas Associated Collegiate Press, and Zach himself was named First Runner-Up Kansas Collegiate Journalist of the Year in 2007.
They operated that paper successfully for several years before moving on to Missouri State.

Zach sets the bar high for The Underground staff, aiming to cover all stories with “honesty, accuracy, integrity, fairness, and public service.”

By doing this, we’ll prove to students we can be a trusted voice on MSU. That way, our investigative stories and coverage of controversial subjects can be fair and accurate.

The Underground is entirely student run; written by students, communicated via email, produced on a PC in the Beckers’ apartment and printed at Nowata Printing Company in Springfield. It is distributed at the college and at local businesses.

It’s a very flexible system that allows for maximum student involvement, independent from the university.

The paper is funded entirely by advertising and is a sole proprietorship owned by Zach and Jenny.

Once you know all of this, the newspaper in your hand becomes more than just another piece of paper.

It’s an opportunity for you to be involved in your school community.

The Underground is actively seeking student volunteers.

Time commitments are entirely up to the individual student and the paper works around your schedule.

There are plans to include new and unique content, from a faith page for all students’ beliefs, to sports commentary and intramural sports coverage, as well as video and audio content available online.

If you have a story or a voice to be heard, The Underground will give you a chance to make that happen.

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