Editor of Towson University's newspaper shares how democracy depends on good journalism.
Bailey Hendricks has deadlines just like every other college student. Some just happen to be more intense.
As editor-in-chief of The Towerlight, Towson University's student newspaper, she juggles five classes while overseeing the publication of a weekly print edition. The fourth-year Mass Communication major has been with the newspaper since the start of her TU experience. The Sykesville, Maryland-native can even remember the date of her first Towerlight byline - September 5, 2016.
She takes the legacy of The Towerlight seriously as she guides it this year.
"The Towerlight reports the news as it’s happening to the campus and community, but also acts as a record, keeping history of important news events and the state of the University," she said.
As she nears the close of her career at Towson University, she's starting to look toward the future. Journalism has changed quite a bit since she arrived on campus, shifting her idea of a dream job.
"Freshman year I would have said a journalist at the New York Times," Hendricks said. "Now I’m also open to a communications/marketing job in which I can be creative and more importantly, make a difference."
In between her busy schedule, Hendricks took time to answer a few of the TU Newsroom's
questions. Here are some of her replies:
TU Newsroom: What does your typical day look like? How do you handle all of it?
Hendricks: Each day of my week is pretty different. Mondays are my busiest day of the week
as it’s our production day, but it’s a day I always look forward to as well. Mondays
I go to the office around 9 a.m. after editing all of the week’s stories the night
before to get a start on that week’s issue. I’m in the office until we are done that
issue which could be as late as 8:30 p.m. and as early as 6 p.m. The rest of the week
is filled with planning the next issue, our editorial board meeting, answering emails,
answering questions from section editors, and sometimes covering events myself.
Even when I’m having leisure time on my phone I’m constantly finding story ideas and sending them to section editors. I love what I do!
I handle it by taking everything one step at a time and making lots of lists. My mom always says, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."
TU Newsroom: What are the biggest thrills and challenges that come with the job?
Hendricks: I'm learning new things everyday at The Towerlight. A challenge is that I wear a
lot of hats. In addition to being The Towerlight's editor-in-chief, I am also a student
balancing homework and a full course load, family life, and social life while running
the paper. Being a student and not (yet) a professional, I don't always have all the
answers, but being able to talk to a professor or Towerlight alum for guidance and
advice is always very helpful and educational and helps me learn even more.
TU Newsroom: What role do you feel the Towerlight now serves on the campus?
Hendricks: The Towerlight is Towson’s campus and community news source. We serve the campus
by providing news to the campus and community while also providing opportunities to
Towson University students to use professional equipment and work with editors in
a real newsroom. To stay up-to-date on University news and happenings, people can
subscribe to The Towerlight's free daily newsletter at thetowerlight.com/subscribe and pick up free print issues throughout campus every Tuesday.
TU Newsroom: What feedback do you get the most and how do you deal with it?
Hendricks: Growing up and telling people I wanted to work for a newspaper, they would tell me
print is dead. To that I respond, news will always be alive. News is a vital aspect
of any democracy.
TU Newsroom: College newspapers have broken international news stories in recent weeks, including a member of the administration leaving his post. Why do you think college newspapers are still vital?
Hendricks: College newspapers are extremely important. College journalists are the ones on the
campus everyday. We are the ones who see campus news first as it's happening. College
journalists often break the news since we are the ones actually on the ground and
know the ins and outs of the university, unlike mainstream media companies.
TU Newsroom: What do you hope a reader comes away with most after reading the Towerlight?
Hendricks: I hope the reader comes away feeling better informed about campus happenings, thanks
to our reporting.
TU Newsroom: Where do you see The Towerlight five years from now?
Hendricks: In five years from now, I see the Towerlight still being a reliable, unbiased news source for Towson University and the community. I see The Towerlight maybe shifting focus to a heavier online presence while still giving the students of Towson University invaluable experiences working in a professional environment for a real news publication.