An Introduction

Hello, my name is Jen Calfas.

I am a junior at the University of Michigan studying English. However, as the Editor in Chief of our independent student newspaper The Michigan Daily, I spend most — if not all — of my time in the newsroom.

As a student journalist, I’ve seen an incredible amount of progress at UM. In 2013, I covered a protest calling for in-state tuition equality for undocumented students. (The Board of Regents later granted their approval.)

As a sophomore I organized our coverage of the appointment of the University’s 14th president Mark Schlissel and wrote the breaking news story.

Two days later, I helped produce an exclusive story exposing the “permanent separation” of a former kicker on Michigan’s football team for committing sexual assault. This report led to a federal investigation into sexual assault response protocol by UM and recognition in The New York Times for our excellence as a college newspaper.

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And these are just a few examples that come to mind.

By covering and investigating campus news, I’ve noticed a trend: social media is how journalists and activists spread a message. Before coming to college, I simply skimmed through the print version of The New York Times (my dad had a subscription), but now, as I’ve joined Twitter for my own career prospects, I’ve realized its necessity for consuming and spreading news.

My parents created Twitter accounts in 2012 to follow my reporting as a college journalist. They now follow my lead by using the site as their main news aggregator, aiming to increase their news consumption — something more frequent Twitter users have them easily beat. (Though they do send my newspaper clippings every now and then.)

I’ve come to learn the influence social media has on policy decisions, national movements, and international trends. A “hashtag,” though something I previously used ironically, creates a thread of thought, weaving together viewpoints, and curating a worldwide conversation. Following these threads, I hope to examine how they, and other social media techniques, are used to establish social justice movements and calls for reform.

And I hope this blog explores them well.

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