It’s both a hard and sad truth that we often don’t know the value of what we have until it’s gone and by the time we recognize the fallacy of our ways the present has become the past. While the sands of time are slipping through our fingers we would like to believe it’s never ending but the eternal truth of the matter is that the sand always runs out. When I was a child my mother insisted that I play the violin despite my protests that it was a waste of time and money. She would tell me that while it seemed like a chore now if I ever did quit I would eventually regret it. As is usually the case with most mothers, she was right, and in the years that have followed since I quit playing I have regretted my shortsighted decision.
This was a hard lesson for me to have learned and one that the Student Media Council at the University of Utah should carefully consider as they debate the future of the Daily Utah Chronicle. A student run newspaper is more than just a learning experience for budding journalists; it’s quite literally the cultural and social voice of the school that it serves. A school newspaper is a window to the past, a voice for the present, and hope for the future. It’s a living, breathing journal dedicated to immortalizing the life and times of the school it reports on, diligently recorded by student reporters who immerse themselves into the seemingly never ending array of activity and enrichment that a college campus provides. A student newspaper is the beating heart of the school it represents and a written legacy to its soul.
The Daily Utah Chronicle has served as the independent student newspaper of the U of U since 1892 and has been more than just a mouthpiece for students. It’s been a daily diary dedicated to reporting on the pulse of student life and events as they happen. For more than a hundred years the Chronicle has been faithfully recording the heart beat of the university and its archives provide a roadmap to revisiting the rich, detailed history of this institution. History books can never match the scope and personalization that a newspaper offers, the voice of one will never be heard as clearly as the voice of many and that is exactly what a newspaper provides.
Every achievement, challenge, and failure this university has had and will continue to have is preserved into the annals of time by the very students who witnessed and experienced it themselves. The Chronicle provides students of today a running narrative of the university life they are immersed in as well as providing students of the past a way to look back and recreate the days they both loved and cursed. There are undoubtedly remnants and reminders of the Chronicle in the homes and scrapbooks of numerous current and past students who have had their photo taken, name mentioned, or athletic event covered. There is no other element of the university experience that records the actual university experience as a student newspaper does.
As the Student Media Council continues to ponder the direction of the Chronicle it needs to consider the merits of nostalgia and posterity that the newspaper provides as the official journal of the university. The Chronicle is the voice of today and reminder of the past, its words and images are interwoven into the cultural fabric that is part of every cap and gown worn proudly by graduating students of this university. The money spent on supporting the Chronicle is never a waste despite what the numbers may show. When considering the viability of the Chronicle it shouldn’t come down to just dollars but sense as well, that is to say the sense of community and history that this newspaper provides.
The love of classical music that I gained during my years of playing the violin has never left me despite the lack of appreciation I had while playing. The money and time spent on my violin lessons were certainly not wasted but the regret I have for quitting will continue to haunt me for the rest of my life. The sands of time are continually slipping through our fingers and will inevitably run out, here’s hoping that the Chronicle will still be around to catch what the rest of us fail to hold on to.