Letter from the Editors | If It Bleeds

Dedicating so much of ourselves to the news at a time when it is distrusted more than ever before is difficult.

As student journalists, we must learn not only how to run a news organization but also how to cope with constant accusations of “fake news” while doing our best to improve the industry.

“If it bleeds, it leads” — a phrase that suggests sensationalized stories about violence are more successful — is a philosophy many journalists used to live by. But journalists are human, and humans make mistakes.

We cannot and will not defend “the media” because we are not “the media,” but we can share our values with you — values that are very different from the journalists who subscribe to this phrase.

We are involved in the Graphic because we care. We care about understanding, informing and empowering our community. We care about making others care as much as we do.

As student journalists, we are committed to relentlessly pursuing the truth in the context of public service. We are in the unique position of covering the community we are a part of, often serving as the primary source of information. During adversities such as the Borderline shooting, the Woolsey Fire and the COVID-19 pandemic, we have intimately experienced the lasting implications of the news.

Our staff chose to explore the implications of this harmful phrase because as journalists we want to better understand the heart of the world, and as students, we want to better understand the heart of journalism — because it does have one.

This special edition not only provides an inside look into Pepperdine Graphic Media — who we are and what we stand for — but also elucidates the expectations, assumptions and stereotypes surrounding journalism. With this special edition, we aim to shed light on the role and responsibility of both the Graphic and the news industry at large because journalism does not need to be admired or appreciated to be needed.

In this issue, you will find stories that examine instances of news insensitivity and emphasize the importance of news literacy; you will find stories that explain the relationship between sports journalism and social media and stories that explore how the community views current news media.

On the surface, this topic may seem like a hopeless one, but as student journalists, we are nothing if not hopeful about the future.

We have to know the stories of the world to make the world better, and we wrote these stories to raise awareness, provide solutions and inspire conversations. We hope these stories challenge your perceptions of journalism and help you understand what journalists do and why. Because it is only when individuals understand journalism that they can begin to trust it.

Makena Huey
Executive Editor

Rowan Toke
Managing Editor