The Mainpoint is an opinion written collectively by The University Star's Editorial Board. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of our entire publication.

The Daily Gamecock’s decision to halt coverage of its community for a full week opened important dialogue throughout the journalism industry about the importance of mental health.

As journalists, among our responsibilities is to keep our communities informed and educated. It may seem that, because our purpose is so essential, we are not “allowed” to take breaks. However, the duties placed upon us cannot be fulfilled if we are not mentally, physically or emotionally in the right spaces. 

Student journalism is often undervalued and overlooked compared to the work done by other journalists in the field. Just like professional news organizations, we have spent the majority of this year covering the COVID-19 pandemic, protests against racism and the general election, along with everything else taking place in our respective communities.

From our perspective, it is forgotten that while working to connect with people, cover the news cycle and meet deadlines, we also balance hours of rigorous coursework and sometimes other jobs to stay financially afloat. 

Student journalism is journalism. It requires intense dedication, focus and discipline, as The Daily Gamecock’s editorial made clear.

We spend our entire collegiate careers in student media placing others first, working late nights in newsrooms and fighting relentlessly to get information. Our pay, aside from inadequate stipends some student editors might receive, is the satisfaction we feel when realizing the work we do makes a difference.

We believe it is okay for The Daily Gamecock to put itself first for a change. A burned out staff is good to no one.

We, the editorial board at The University Star, see, understand and respect the decision The Daily Gamecock made in going dark. These journalists care immensely about their jobs, and this was exemplified by their decision to take a break to avoid running out of whatever fuel they had left.

The rest of us should begin prioritizing our mental health, too, and do so however we see fit.

Journalism is an act of civic responsibility. We see our work as a public service that is necessary for a community to thrive because knowledge is empowering. If you enjoyed this story, please consider helping us "Defend the First Amendment" by donating today!

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