Student business journalists bust open a million-dollar bust near campus
Ioanna Makris, Caroline Courtney and April Cunningham are journalism students at Texas Tech who work for the student newspaper, the Daily Toreador.
In recent weeks, they have reported the story about the ownership of a parking garage that was built adjacent to campus. As you can see if you click on the attached links, it’s been a big money-loser for the university and a boon for some key alumni.
I asked Makris, Courtney and Cunningham to write how they got the story.
It was difficult to write a story with so many numbers and facts in a compelling and interesting manner, but we knew it was the only way to hold the reader’s attention. It was absolutely essential that every piece of information was accurately reported and that every number was understandable to the reader.
We read the story at least twenty times before handing it over to the editors. After their stamps of approval, the story was finally ready for publication. All our documents were online, our graphics were ready to go, and most importantly, the story was completed.
The next morning, emails began flooding our inboxes and phone calls were endless. The Texas Tech alumni were shocked at the quality of journalism produced by the university paper. The students at the university were upset to hear about the arrangement. And of course, with any investigative story, we also heard some negative feedback.
Investigating this story presented plenty of roadblocks, but an equal number of breakthroughs. Sources yelled at us and discouraged us, but as reporters, it is our job to hold authorities accountable to the people for whom they work. We wanted to ensure Texas Tech University and all other parties involved were being truthful and honest with the student body, the alumni and the staff of the university. However, we feel we are not done.
Despite more than three months of digging, our job is still not over. We are continuing to research and produce follow-up stories so that our readers will be fully informed and our authorities will be fully accountable. By writing the first story we made a promise to the Texas Tech University system that no rock will be left untouched, and we will continue to discover what other secrets the parking garage and other things around Texas Tech are being hidden.